UTN News

ASSAULT CHARGES OPENED AGAINST MINISTER BYANDALA: KATOSI ROAD SCAM

An assault case has been opened against Minister without Portfolio Eng. Abraham Byandala for punched a journalist in the stomach as she filmed him at the Anti-Corruption Court.

The minister punched Judith Nalukwa, a journalist attached to Bukedde TV as he came out of the court room after answering to the over shillings 24 billion corruption case that he is facing over the Mukono-Katosi road scam.

To that effect, the scribe reported an assault case against the minister at Jinja Road police station under file number SD: 135/32/March/03/2016.

Earlier, the minister through his lawyer Nsubuga Mubiru, expressed interest to court presided over by justice Lawrence Gidudu, of embracing the plea bargain system and plead guilty to the corruption charges in exchange of a lesser sentence.

To that effect, the presiding judge gave the IGG who is prosecuting the matter and the minister and his legal team up to March 29 to seat and talk on the possibility of embracing plea bargain.

Plea bargain is an agreement initiated by the Judiciary in a criminal case between the prosecutor and the accused person whereby the latter agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor.

A voluntary plea of guilt under this mechanism may see the number or severity of the charges against an accused person or their punishment reduced.

In a related development, another suspect Joe Ssemugooma, (former AG Director Finance and Administration with UNRA), who had earlier expressed interest in pleading guilty under the plea bargain arrangement, court heard that the talks with the IGG had not materialized. Court gave them more time to talk in an open environment and come up with answers by March 29.

Similarly, a new suspect; Wilberforce Ssajakko (regional UNRA accountant for Kampala) was this morning charged over this road scam bringing the total number of suspects to seven.

The other suspects include; Apollo Senkeeto alias Mark Kalyesubula, a businessman, Marvin Baryaruha, the former legal counsel for UNRA and Isaac Mugote, former banker with Housing Finance Bank Ltd.

The IGG who is prosecuting this case, accuses the minister of having abused his office while holding the Works ministry docket by a letter dated November 14, 2013, when he directed the immediate signing of the contract between UNRA and EUTAW, an American construction firm that was contracted to upgrade the Katosi road and yet the company lacked capacity to perform.