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Uganda: OPM Permanent Secretary Guwatudde and Co-Accused Taken to Court

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KAMPALA — Four Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) officials who were arrested last week in food relief procurement scandal will today Tuesday, April 14 be produced to court, the Office of Director of Public Prosecution has said.

The four who were arrested for causing government a financial loss of shs 4 billion after inflating prices of COVID-19 relief food include; Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde, Accounting Officer Joe Wanjala, Assistant commissioner procurement Fred Mutimba and commissioner disaster management (head COVID-19) Martin Owor.

Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde

The officials are accused of key among others inflating food prices for the COVID-19 relief programme.

President Museveni sanctioned the operation following intelligence reports that officials at the OPM had frustrated other lower bidders in the relief aid programme, State House Anti-corruption unit headed by President Museveni’s military assistant Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema said in a statement after effecting the arrests last week.

Head of the State House Anti-corruption unit Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema

Nakalema in her statement said, Guwatudde and ilk had rejected food supplies at low cost and opted to inflate figures by shs 500 and ended up causing a loss of shs 4 billion.

The officials quoted Shs 3900 per kilogram of maize flour as opposed to the market price of Shs 2500-3000 and Shs 4500 per kilogram of beans as opposed to Shs 3000-4000 market price. Government ordered 9,030,000 kilograms of maize flour and 635,000 kilograms of beans.

The suppliers included Afro Kai Uganda Ltd, Global Trust Ltd, Mandela Millers and Aponye Uganda Ltd.

Nakalema handed them to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for interrogation and were later detained in four separate police cells for the whole Easter holiday.

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