The jailed executive director of the National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRIC & DB), Dr Charles Lagu, has been interdicted from duty until determination of criminal charges against him.
Dr Lagu was remanded to Kitalya Prison over corruption-related offences in regard to the procurement of hybrid pasture for cattle.
Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempijja interdicted Dr Lagu in a May 6 letter citing the gravity of the offences and Public Service Standing Orders.
“Considering the gravity of the alleged offences against you and in line with Section F-s. 8 of the Uganda Public Service Standing Orders, I have decided to interdict you from duty with immediate effect, to pave way for investigations to take place unhindered,” Mr Ssempijja wrote.
Dr Lagu was remanded after denying accusations of abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretense, causing financial loss to government and conspiracy to defraud.
He was jointly arraigned before Court at Makindye with his juniors; Mr Philip Ezekiel Mukani, the procurement officer, Olivious Komujuni (Animal Husbandry officer) and the director of private firm; Nuruma Holdings Ltd, Mr Emmanuel Kafute Rumanzi.
Dr Lagu, Mr Mukani and Mr Rumanzi were remanded to Kitalya prison while Mr Komujuni was remanded to Kigo prison pending bail application slated for today (Friday).
According to the minister’s letter, while on interdiction, Dr Lagu will receive half of his monthly salary and will not access NAGRC & DB premises without the minister’s express clearance. “You will not travel out of the country without my express permission,” the minister directed.
Mr Ssempijja also directed the NAGRC &DB board of directors to identify and recommend a suitable person from the most senior officers for assignment of duties of executive director as an interim measure.
Dr Lagu could not be reached by press time as he was reported to be in a meeting with his lawyers.
The State alleges that on October 15, 2018 at NAGRC in Entebbe, Wakiso District, Dr Lagu in abuse of the authority of his office did with an arbitrary act prejudicial to the interests of his employer authorised an order in favour of Nuruma Holdings Ltd for the supply and delivery of 1,000 Kilogrammes and 600Kgs of Chloris Gayana to Nshara Ranch and Sanga Field Station respectively worth Shs54.4m without request and confirmation of need from the said field farms.
Other alleged procurement processes were done on January 8, 2019, October 15, 2018 and December 2018.