By Nangayi Guyson – Kampala – Uganda’s former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya has been charged with Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) fraud.
Prof. Bukenya is charged with abuse of office and taking advantage from a 3.9 million USD deal to provide cars to the 2007 Commonwealth summit in Uganda’s capital city; Kampala.
The luxury cars were used to transport dozens of heads of state during the 2007 CHOGM where the former vice-president was the chair of the cabinet team in charge of the event’s preparations. Bukenya has denied the charges.
Magistrate Irene Akankwasa canceled his bail and sent him to Luzira prision. “The accused person is hereby committed to High Court. His bail elapses and he is remanded to custody,” held Ms Akankwasa.
After court ruling, the former vice president broke down, tears rolling down his cheeks. On his Facebook page, in a comment posted minutes later, Prof. Bukenya cut a forlorn image: “My friends, I have been remanded to Luzira Prison as I have been committed to the High Court and my bail has been cancelled. However, my co-accused of Motorcare, have been released without taking any plea and at no conditions. I will now start a new Prison chapter in Life and with your prayers, God will intervene.”
In another post on his Facebook page, in a few hours later, Bukenya posted, “I am in the coolers now. Remember I never said never to such a situation. But you will see what comes next. Am thinking of spilling some beans……what do you think? His post seemed to mean some secrets that he had kept about government and now he may reveal them out any time.
In the case, the IGG says Prof. Bukenya, who chaired 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.
Prof. Bukenya, who had been granted a cash bail of Shs50 million and had deposited his passport with court, is jointly charged with Motorcare Uganda, the company that was awarded the Shs9.4 billion Chogm cars contract. Yesterday, court released two Motorcare company officials, Ms Florence Ssempebwa and Mr Moses Banturaki, without taking plea and also without pre-conditions despite submission that they were appointed to represent the company.
Dr. Bukenya went into politics back in 1996 becoming an MP for Busiro North constituency after serving two-year tenure as the Dean of the School of Medicine at Makerere University. He became Vice President in 2003 replacing Dr. Specioza Kazibwe who at the time was struggling with a failed marriage.