Road equipment abuse trial against Hoima district officials opens

The trial of Hoima district officials over abuse of road construction equipment, has started.

Hoima district chairperson, Kadir Kirungi, who also doubles as the Secretary for works and technical services, on Monday, together with his vice chairperson, Benson ChiChe, who is also the councilor for Buhanika sub-county appeared in court.

Others are James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the district secretary for production and natural resources and Kigorobya sub-county councilor, Geoffrey Komaketch, the Buseruka sub-county councilor-secretary for finance, Christopher Nyarwa, the equipment operator, among others.

The Anti-Corruption court is sitting at Hoima magistrates court until Thursday (September 29) to allow state prosecutors present evidence through their witnesses.

The case against the accused officials after inquiries into the matter were complete, the state was ready to present its witnesses. The case is being presided over by Joan Aciro, the Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate.

Gloria Nzikuru who is being helped by Emily Mutuzo are the state prosecutors. The defence team is being represented by Robert Mackay, the head bar course at the Law Development Centre from Robert Mackay and company advocates.

The officials were released on bail after they were arrested on September 11, 2021 by detectives from State House Anti Corruption Unit (SHACU) when they had gone for interrogation over allegations that they hired out the district road equipment to a private person.

The arrest came after SHACU, in collaboration with the police a week earlier had impounded Hoima district construction equipment allegedly doing private work in Kaduku village in the neighbouring Kiryandongo district.

The equipment included a wheel loader and a vibro roller. The officials face charges of forgery, utterance of false documents and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Kirungi is also accused of issuing a false document regarding a district executive committee meeting minutes to SHACU in Entebbe on August 30, 2021.

Prosecution noted that the four while at Cultural Lodge in Hoima City on August 28, 2021, with intent to deceive forged the district executive committee minutes purporting the same had been made on June 22, 2021, whereas not.

Ibrahim Luswata, the former Hoima district engineer on April 5, pleaded guilty to the charges of abuse of office and causing financial loss to the government through plea bargaining.

The same Court sitting in Kampala then presided over by Justice Lawrence Gidudu, convicted Luswata and ordered him to pay a fine of sh6m and barred him from occupying a public office for 10 years.

Luswata who has since resigned his position asked the same court to also convict Kirungi for abuse of office and corruption because he was the one who received money to irregularly hire out the aforementioned road construction equipment.

A source said, after a witness session from Hoima, court will go back to Kampala for another session to conclude the case by this week.

In Hoima, there are 15 witnesses while in Kampala there are 9, The Albertine Journal has learnt.

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