13 October 2011

Uganda: Live Updates Chogm - Uganda Ministers Kutesa,Nasasira and Rukutana Granted 40m Bail

Photo: mo
Minister Kutesa (front) and Motorcare manager Kim Vandbaek (Left) inspect some of the BMW cars used during Chogm at Shimoni grounds in 2007.

UPDATE: By 2.30pm, three ministers who were this morning charged in connection with 2007 Chogm funds before the Anti-Corruption Court were still waiting to be cleared.

A day after they stepped aside from their cabinet positions, three ministers, Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), Eng. John Nasasira (government Chief Whip) and Mwesigwa Rukutana (State Minister for Labour) implicated in connection with Shs14 billion Chogm scandal were released on bail pending trial.

The trio that appeared calm and relaxed except Mr Rukutana who has been denied permission to go with his passport to travel to Tanzania for a business trip, maintained that the court which granted them bail will establish their innocence and have their names cleared.

"We reiterate our innocence and we have full confidence in the judiciary, we are sure that our innocence will be established," they said in a joint statement after they were ordered to pay cash bail of Shs40 million each.

They were charged with abuse of office and causing financial loss.

UPDATE 12:18pm:-Three ministers implicated in connection with Shs14 billion Chogm scandal have been released on bail pending trial hardly a day after they stepped aside from their cabinet positions.

Mr Sam Kutesa, Eng. John Nasasira and Mwesigwa Rukutana have been this morning granted bail before the Anti Corruption Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa.

They were charged with abuse of office and causing financial loss, the cases they have denied.

Magistrate Akankwasa ordered them to pay Shs40 million each in cash, and to deposit their passports. Each of their sureties was bonded at non cash of Shs1 billion and ordered to deposit their passports which they can always apply for when they have to travel.

The accused persons and some of their sympathisers are now waiting for final completion of the requirements for release.

They appear calm and relaxed except Mr Rukutana who has been denied permission to go with his passport to travel to Tanzania for a business work.

There is a high security deployment at the court in with security operatives in uniform and plain clothes.

Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, Government Chief Whip John Nasasira and Labour State Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana who yesterday stepped down, ahead of corruption related charges today are in court to start their defence.

The trio stand accused of abuse of office and causing financial loss in the Shs 14billion tender for fixing Speke Resort Munyonyo, ahead of the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Inspectorate of Government.

9:00am:- Ministers Kutesa and Rukutana have arrived at court for plea taking over Chogm

Nasasira has arrived in government car UG 2014z.

• It is fully packed court room comprising of ministers Bright Rwamirama, among others Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali, Presidential advisor John Nagenda

• Mps 'Hanifa Kawooya, Stephen Tashobya, Naoume Kabasharira, Former minister Hope Mwesigye, EC Secretary Sam Rwakoojo, first son in law, Edwin Karugire

• Case just being read

• Defence lawyers for Kutesa- Karugire, Kiwanuka Kiryowa & Didas Nkurunziza

• Defence for Rukutana is Oscar Kambona, Kalule Ahmed & Abbas Nsubuga Kisamba Matovu

• Sydney Asubo of the IGG takes stand to read the prosecution charges

• Court clerk now reads the charge sheet for the trio. She says first count is abuse of office, that they decided that the government of Ugandan would fully fund construction of parkways and marina at Speke resort Muinyonyo with no mandate to make the decision.

• Magistrate asks the accused- is it true?

• Kutesa says; "Your honour its not true."

• Nasasasira says, "Your honour it is not true."

• Rutukutana says; "Not true your honour."

• Clerk reads count number 2 of causing financial loss that cost Shs14bn well knowingly that such commitments would cause and indeed caused the loss of the Shs14bn.

• Magistrate asks- is it true or not true.

• Kutesa- "its not true

• Nasasira- "its not true

• Rukutana- "Its not true your honour

Defense lawyer Didas Nkuruzinza takes stand to submit: "Your worship I have instructions on behalf of A1 (Kutesa) for him to be released on bail in this court, on the basis which my client is charged are offences that are bailable. My client resides at plot 19 Akibua road Nakasero- Kampala& Where he lives with his wife and family

He says it's the first time the client is being charged in court, and therefore has no adverse precedence. My client is an advocate of the courts of judiciature in Uganda and has been son for over 30 years and is one of the few advocates holding the official rank of senior counsel.

Lawyer says his cleient is a past attorney general. That he first entered parliament as a representative of the people of the then Mbarara North

Lawyer says his cleient is a past attorney general. That he first entered parliament as a representative of the people of the then Mbarara North

Magistrate tells him that all that backgrfound isn't necessary

Lawyer says his clent is a responsible and distinguished citizen and its only recognizant to be entitled to bail.

Lawyer says his client has 5 sureties, one is Gordon Mwesige (sec UHRC) 62 who resides plot 62 Kololo

Magistrate asks why they stay on the same close- road

Magistrate asks the relationship with A1 to which Mwesigye says is a friend

Lawyer says second surety is Sam Rwakoojo, (55) sec EC, resident of plot 1066 Kawaga clause Muyenga

Magistrate asks his relationship which Rwakoojo answers "he is my cousin and friend."

Lawyer says the third surety is Patrick Bitature (51) resident of number 9 malcom x Kololo

Magistrate asks Bitature's occupation to which he answers "businessman"

Lawyer says the forth surety is Dr Kayongo John Mutumba (50), resident block 240 ssezibwa zone Kiwatule. He says he is a medical doctor & works at the Uganda Christian University Mukono

He says the suspect is a long time family friend.

Lawyer says the last surety is Geoffrey Mugazoora (51), a resident of plot 4300 Mitala road Kasanga, he says he is the CEO of MGS International Uganda Ltd, on plot 40 Nile avenue, he says the relationship is a long time friend.

Lawyer says because these are substantial sureties, he prays the magistrate grants the client bail.

Nasasira's lawyer Dr Byamugisha says he is an MP until last night he was government chief whip when he was forced to step aside because of these charges- so that he can concentrate on them to defend himself.

That he is a resident of plot4 Naguru rise, upper Naguru and he undertakes not to abscond and to appear regularly before this court to answer the charges against him until the conclusion of the case

He is willing to execute such a goal as the court will order, he has substantial sureties who will ensure that he will come to this court to answer to these charges against him as required by law.

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