PPDA officer quizzed in Kasese flood relief case

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja (right) inspects blankets given to Kasese flood victims last year. She rejected them due to poor quality. PHOTO / ENID NINSIIMA

What you need to know:

  • But certain procurement procedures were not observed, Ms Agnes Seera, a Senior Officer for Performance Monitoring at PPDA, told court yesterday.

A senior officer at the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA),  was yesterday questioned over her  role in procurement of  the substandard relief items meant for Kasese District.

The beans, bed nets and blankets, were procured by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in 2021.

But certain procurement procedures were not observed, Ms Agnes Seera, a Senior Officer for Performance Monitoring at PPDA, told court yesterday.

Ms Seera, a key state witness,  also testified against five OPM officials.

But during cross-examination, she said the notice board  displayed the best-evaluated bidder for the supply of 10,000 blankets valued at more than Shs298m two days before the evaluation committee sat to consider the submitted bids.

According to defence lawyer Asuman Nyonyintono, his clients did not breach  the procurement process since the  best bidder had already been picked two days before the Evaluation Committee could appraise the submitted bids. His clients were members of the evaluaton committee.

The suspects include; Mr  Godfrey Kaima ( the Undersecretary and Accounting Officer), Ms Rose Nakabugo (Acting Commissioner for disaster preparedness) , Mr Cyprian Dhikusooka (Principal disaster management) , Mr Kizito Mugerwa ( a procurement officer) and Mr Martin Odongo, the disaster management officer.

The hearing was before Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Joan Aciro. 

During the cross-examination yesterday, Ms Seera also conceded that the police procurement reference number was different from the reference number that she looked at while making a report, implicating the accused.

According to Mr Nyonyintono, his clients are being implicated on documents that they never dealt with for the procurement of the 10,000 blankets.

Ms Seera, who was also the first prosecution witness, was cornered when asked about the quotation method used in the procurement process.

The accused persons used the “Quotation Method” and yet when the paperwork came to the office of Procurement and Disposal Unit led by Ms Agnes Katembeko, a word restricted was added, written with a pen, to read as “Restricted Quotation Method”.

According to the defence team, this new quotation method with the word restricted is alien in the procurement world.

Ms Katembeko was originally charged with the five accused but the Director of Public Prosecutions, along the way, dropped charges against her.

According to the amended charge sheet, Mr Kaima is accused of abuse of office when without written consent from the Solicitor General, he irregularly made a payment worth Shs298m for blankets in favour of Emax Supplies & Logistics contrary to the PPDA regulations.

On July 20, 2021, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja rejected relief items meant for thousands of people displaced in Kasese after River Nyamwamba had burst its banks.