US witness to pin Byandala through visual-audio link

  • by Mark Kalule
  • June 27, 2017

Former President of Eutaw Mississippi is on July 20, scheduled to testify through visual audio link against former Minister of Works Abraham Byandala and six others, accused of embezzling sh24.7b meant for the upgrade of Mukono Katosi road.

On Tuesday, the Anti-Corruption  court Judge, Lawrence Gidudu allowed IGG’s application made by Sarah Birungi to have Thomas Elmore, testify through visual audio link since he was unable to travel to Uganda.

“The court would be obliged to consider the application to make it easier for the witness to give evidence without physically appearing in court and to facilitate speedy trials while reducing the cost of litigation,” he ruled.

Byandala appeared in court alongside former UNRA officials Berunado Kimeze Ssebbugga, 54, Joe Ssemugooma, 54, Wilberforce Senjako, city businessman Apollo Senkeeto, 45, and Isaac Mugote, a former Housing Finance Bank official to answer charges of abuse of office, causing financial loss, corruption and theft.

The witness will adduce evidence on whether his company was involved in the award and execution of road works on Mukono-Katosi road from gravel to bitumen standard.

According to prosecution, the documentation and actions done in pursuing the procurement and execution of the said works were not done by Elmore nor authorised by his company.

Earlier, Birungi submitted that Elmore’s evidence is relevant because it relates to what other witnesses explained in court and a host of exhibits in relation to the case.

While, the rest of the defence counsel had no objection to the application, Senkeeto’s lawyer peter Mulira raised an objection contending that 99 percent of the evidence Elmore intends to adduce is already in court record and part of it is hearsay.

The witness will also adduce evidence of whether Eutaw Mississippi is the one that participated in the bid to rehabilitate the said road, or it formed a special purpose vehicle called Delaware (Florida) that was granted the contract by UNRA.

However before the court session, the former Minister did not learn from his past mistake when he boxed Bukedde journalist Judith Naluggwa.

Byandala, clad in a dark blue suit came out of his silver Toyota V 8 land cruiser and grabbed the camera of NTV journalist Denis Kabugo wondering how much he had been paid to take his picture.

Fortunately his body guard who was dressed in civilian intervened and saved NTV’s camera from being broken by Byandala.

According to the charge sheet, Byandala is alleged to have influenced the procurement process that led to the award of tender to Eutaw.

Prosecution alleges that Senkeeto uttered a false KCB bank bid guarantee for sh1.9b in support of a bid for procurement of the road upgrade.

Senkeeto allegedly obtained execution of performance bond of sh16.5b from insurance company of East Africa and UAP by misrepresenting to them that it was guaranteeing a pending payment for the road.

Meanwhile, UNRA officials were accused by the IGG for effecting payment of sh24.7b to Eutaw without establishing its authenticity.