The Anti-Corruption Court yesterday sentenced former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government John Muhanguzi Kashaka to 10 years and 10 days in prison for having orchestrated the financial loss of Shs4.2b to government in regard to the bungled procurement of 70,000 bicycles.
Kashaka was also ordered to jointly, with five others, refund the same money to government.
The money in question was meant to procure 70,000 bicycles from India that were to be used by LC1 and parish chairpersons for government activities ahead of the 2011 presidential elections but no single bicycle was delivered into the country to date.
When you break down, the refund that Mr Kashaka and his five colleagues are to refund to the government, each is to refund about Shs700 million.
Citing Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption Act, presiding judge Catherine Bamugemereire went ahead and banned Kashaka, 60, from being employed by government for the next 10 years.
Likewise, his co-convicts - Henry Bamutura, Robert Mwebaze, Sam Emorut Erongot, Timothy Musherure and Adam Bond Alum - were banned from being employed by government for the next 10 years.
While handing Kashaka the jail term, Justice Bamugemereire faulted him for “mindlessly” signing away public funds.
The judge on Tuesday held that Kashaka and Bamutura should have exercised due diligence knowing that by signing a Shs4.2b shipping documents with discrepancies would cause government a financial loss.
“I have considered the meticulous and sophisticated method used in awarding the contract to a sham company by the names of Amman industrial Tools and Equipment LTD (AITEL) which led to loss of $ 1,719,454.54. The amount of money involved is colossal and led to deprivation of government funds to other much needed activities,” held Justice Bamugemereire.
She added: “ while I agree that A1 (Kashaka) and A2 (Henry Bamutura) did not seem to have premeditated intentions to jointly cause the loss although they both orchestrated this loss by mindlessly signing away the money. I find the rest A3, A4, A5 and A6 in a conspiratorial manner in the way they smuggled AITEL into the tendering process.”
Whereas Bamutura (ex principal accountant) was also given a 10-year jail term, Mwebaze (ex principal procurement officer), whom the judge described as the “consummate ring leader”, was sentenced to six years in jail for abuse of office. Erongot ( ex assistant commissioner, policy and planning) was sentenced to 13 years in jail for the three counts that he was convicted of which are to be served consecutively.
The other convicts; Musherure, (ex consultant) was jailed for 40 months for having failed to dutifully warn the errant evaluation team that awarded the contract to AITEL while Alum (ex member evaluation committee) was handed one year and nine months in jail for the two counts he was convicted of.