By Our Reporter

The officials who include the Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Accountant  Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner for Procurement  Fred Lutimba and Commissioner for Disaster Management Martin Owor appeared before Justice Margaret Tibulya and denied all the twenty-three charges slapped against them by the state.

The Anti-Corruption Court has set March next year to start hearing of a case in which four top officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) are implicated in the Covid-19 food scam.

The group faces twelve counts related to abuse of office and eleven others on false accounting. 

Court has heard that investigations in the matter are complete with partial disclosures being made to the defense lawyers.

“This case is adjourned to March 19, 2021, and March 26, 2021 with orders of making full disclosures and consultations,” Justice Tibulya said.

Prosecution led by Nicolas Kawooya alleges that the accused persons did acts prejudicial to their employer when they prepared and issued false entries between March 31 and April 8, 2020 in award letters to several companies to supply Covid-19 relief items such as maize and milk worth more than Shs32 billion in total disregard of the procurement procedures.

According to the prosecution, the group contracted several companies that included; Aponye Uganda Limited which was given Shs19 billion to supply several kilograms of maize each at Shs3, 000, Mandela Millers Limited which was given Shs9 billion and Afro Kai Limited which was paid Shs2 billion.

The other companies include Mehta Group C/o SCOUL which was given Shs900 million, Operation Wealth Creation which was paid Shs450 million, Pearl Dairy Farmers Limited with a bill of Shs525 million, Nmacks Investments Limited Shs225 million and Global Center Limited Shs240 million.

It is also alleged that the accused persons used their offices to defraud government after making false entries of the award letters to the companies to supply relief items purporting that the money had been allocated by the OPM contracts committee which was false.

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  2. The office has sent staff members who came in close contact with the employee home to work remotely again for a second time in a month. The staff member, who last worked in the governor’s office on Thursday, received a rapid test over the weekend after developing virus symptoms. The case’s origin remains under investigation, but health officials have already determined that Sisolak wasn’t in close contact with the coronavirus-positive staff member. The Democratic governor is tested routinely, and after the employee’s positive result was confirmed, Gov. Sisolak tested negative for the virus on Monday.

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