National

Brig Ondoga, two other officers remanded over Somalia food theft

Share Bookmark Print Rating
Col Sam Kirya (L) and Brig Michael Ondoga in the dock at

Col Sam Kirya (L) and Brig Michael Ondoga in the dock at the General Court Martial in Makindye yesterday. PHOTO BY FAISWAL KASIRYE  

By  EPHRAIM KASOZI

Posted  Friday, November 1   2013 at  02:00
SHARE THIS STORY

KAMPALA- A former commander of the Uganda contingent in Somalia, Brig Michael Ondoga, has been remanded for allegedly failing to perform his duties and theft in connection with the operations at Amisom.
Brig Ondoga was yesterday charged with eight offences before the General Court Martial at Makindye chaired by Brig Moses Ddiba Ssentongo.

He was remanded until November 5 for hearing of bail application.
Prosecution alleges that in October, while aware of an impending advance operation from Afgooye-Baidoa which required 1,500 troops, the senior army officer committed 1,000 troops which resulted into loss of life and that he also failed to issue formal operation orders to the commander Battle Group X leading to loss of a battle tank and all its crew.

The charges
According to the charge sheet, Brig Ondoga allegedly failed to execute his duties in October 2012 when he failed to address food shortage despite complaints from the commander, and that he also failed to command and control of his subordinates resulting into irregular transfer of Capt Julius Rubahimbya, who was opposed to the malpractices in the mission area.
It is alleged that the Brigadier failed to convene a board of inquiry to look into the circumstances under which his junior, Warrant Officer (WO) II Kenneth Mugusha, had deserted from the mission and that he diverted 15,000 litres of fuel thereby endangering the operational efficiency.

Brig Ondoga was also charged with interfering with the process of law by obstructing investigators from taking documents that were important for their inquiries as well as abuse of and violence against inferiors in connection with detention of WOII Coleb Kashumbusha for seven days.

In a separate file, Brig Ondoga was charged jointly with Lt Col Sam Kirya, a former information officer at the mission, for allegedly giving false information about the enemy’s position at Janale and Sharambot. The duo was also charged with failing to stop an illegal power connection at Aljazeera Training Centre.

A junior officer, Capt Joy Atugonza, a former logistics officer was charged alone on five cases, including failure to ensure proper supply of food, failure to plan leading to shortage of food, water and issuing forged documents.
Prosecution led by Capt Fredrick Kangwamu said investigations were still on-going and that the state needed more four weeks to conclude.

However, the three denied the charges.

The Background
President Museveni recently recalled at least 24 UPDF officers from Mogadishu including Brig Michael Ondoga over alleged sale of food meant for soldiers.
This followed an investigation by the military intelligence over reports of corruption involving top army officers in Mogadishu selling food and fuel.
Sources say food was being sold to private companies operating the in main base camp of African Union Mission in Somalia.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com