Byandala arrested, jailed over Katosi road scam



Former minister of Works and Transport, Hon Abraham Byandala, has been arrested.

The Katikamu County North Member of Parliament, in Luweero District, was picked by police detectives Tuesday and arraigned in Anti-Corruption Court Kololo on corruption charges.

He is accused of abuse of office in connection with a contract he helped award to a ghost American company Eutaw costing government Shs 24.6bn.

Byandala allegedly influenced Uganda National Roads Authority to award a contract for the construction of the Mukono-Katosi road to the ghost firm.

The saga cost Byandala his cabinet job where he was replaced by Hon Eng John Byabagambi.

He was picked today by officers from Standard Investigations Unit Kireka from the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Irene Mulyagonja, where he and five former UNRA officials were summoned to appear over investigations into the Katosi road Saga.

He faces 16 counts of abuse of office, disobedience of lawful orders, Influence peddling, causing financial loss, corruption, theft, obtaining money buy false pretense, uttering false documents and conspiracy to defraud the government.

According to the charge sheet, in November 2013, Byandala “arbitrarily directed the immediate signing of a contract between UNRA and Eutaw Construction Company for the construction of the Mukono Katosi road”.

It adds that the minister did this “before due diligence was concluded” upon which the IGG brings against him charges of influence peddling and abuse of office.

He is also accused of further authorising the continuation of Katosi road construction even after the IGG had halted the works on that same road pending investigations.

Paraded before court

IGG had earlier said Byandala would be produced in anti-corruption court Kololo alongside Eng. Berunado Ssebbugga Kimeze (former Acting Executive Director) and Joe Ssemugooma (former Acting Director Finance and Administration) at the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Apolo Senkeeto alias Kalyesubula Mark, a businessman; and Mugote Isaac, a former Banker at Housing Finance Bank Ltd.

Meanwhile, Marvin Baryaruha, the former Legal Counsel at UNRA,also involved in the scam is still at large.

The group has been paraded to take plea.

Byandala pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, abuse of office and causing financial loss.

The group’s lawyers made an attempt to apply for bail saying their clients had responded positively to police summons.

However, Magistrate Borore denied the request and fixed a date in two weeks’ time for hearing of bail application.

He remanded the accused to Luzira maximum prison till August 11, 2015 when they will re-appear for the hearing of their case.

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