Court stays Chogm proceedings

Court stays Chogm proceedings

Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa outside court on Monday. Photo by Stephen Wandera

Posted  Monday, October 24  2011 at  12:52

The Anti-Corruption Court has this Monday morning stayed charges of abuse of office against three ministers who voluntarily stepped out of their offices to attend court in connection with Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007.

Chief Magistrate, Ms Irene Akankwasa stayed the proceedings against Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), John Nasasira (Government Chief Whip) and Mwesigwa Rukutana (Labour) until the Constitutional Court determines on legal questions raised by the accused persons through their lawyers.

The trio who appeared for mention in a fully packed courtroom comprising of their spouses, MPs, former ministers and ministers had their case extended until January 24, 2012.

Both lawyers for the accused persons and those from the Inspector General of Government (IGG) raised questions they said necessitated the intervention of the Constitutional Court for determination.

The arguments raised this morning were similar to the same raised during the proceedings of former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, although they received a different ruling from the same Magistrate.

One of the matters they have put before the Constitutional Court is whether a Magistrate’s court should cancel bail ‘merely because one is committed to the High Court for trial.’

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The trio, all senior members of the ruling National Resistance Movement are charged with abuse of office and causing financial loss of Shs14 billion tender for fixing Speke Resort Munyonyo, ahead of Chogm. They however deny the charges.
Prosecution led by the Head of Legal Affairs at the Inspectorate of Government, Mr Sydney Asubo alleges that on December 17, 2005 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, the three irregularly convened a consultative cabinet subcommittee meeting and decided that government would fully fund the construction of drive ways, parking areas, and, marina at Munyonyo which decisions they did not have mandate to make.

The IGG alleges that the ministers purporting to act on behalf of the Chogm Sub Committee irregularly committed government to fund the construction cost of drive ways parking areas and marina at Speke Resort Munyonyo, construction works that cost Shs14,008,138,092 well knowing or having reason to believe that such commitment would cause and did cause financial loss.

They have since 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 emphasized.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com & snaturinda@ug.nationmedia.com

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