Former vice president Prof Gilbert Bukenya has been jailed for abuse of office and causing financial loss to government during the Kampala 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) preparations. Bukenya headed the Chogm Cabinet Committee and is accused of personally awarding the Shs 9.4 billion to Motorcare Limited, a firm owned by Uganda’s foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa.
Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa of Uganda’s Anti-Corruption Division committed Bukenya to High Court for trial despite objections by his lawyer MacDusman Kabega challenging the power of the Inspectorate of Government to commit his client.
“The accused person (Bukenya) is hereby committed to the High Court. His bail elapses. You are remanded to custody,” declared Ms Akankwasa in a fully packed court room. The magistrate’s ruling shocked Bukenya as his teary eyes showed.
Prosecution alleges that Prof. Bukenya being a person employed as Vice President in the government and chairman of the Chogm Cabinet subcommittee, between July 2006 and November 2007 in Kampala, unlawfully and high handedly in abuse of his office, influenced and directed the award of a contract for supply of 80 units of BMW police outrider motorcycles for CHOGM, to Motorcare in total disregard of the regulations governing public procurement.
While Bukenya’s trial for corruption could be a right thing to do in a country where Shs 500 billion is lost to corruption by government officials, some analysts view as selective since other government officials who acted jointly with Bukenya and could be liable for the losses are still moving on the streets scot free. Some have even been exonerated by the prosecutor in this matter who is the Inspector General of Government.
Bukenya, also NRM chairman for Wakiso district, is jointly charged with Motorcare Uganda, a limited liability company that was awarded the Shs9.4 billion Chogm contract to supply 204 executive vehicles for the commonwealth summit in Kampala in 2007. But the same court released two company officials without taking plea, without conditions in spite of submissions that they were appointed to represent Motocare Limited.
Bukenya was in May this year dropped from vice presidency. The former vice president is also fighting to retain his parliamentary after it was challenged in court over voter bribery allegation.