After the president suggested that use of bicycles was on the cards in the fight against the Corona virus,we decided to rewind back to one of the most famous corruption scandals that have rocked this banana republic.
In July 2014,the then Interdicted permanent secretary of local government ministry John Muhanguzi Kashaka was convicted by the Anti-Corruption Court and sent to Luzira Prison over the bungled purchase of 70,000 bicycles.In a shocking case of corruption at its worst in this country, Kashaka was convicted along with five others, four of whom were employees of the local government ministry. They include; Henry Bamutura, a Principal Accountant, Principal Procurement Officer Robert Mwebaze, Sam Emorut Erongot, Assistant Commissioner Policy and Planning, Timothy Musherure , a consultant and Adam Aluma.
In her judgment that took over three hours then,the presiding Judge Bamugemereire observed that the firm that was contracted to supply the 70,000 bicycles, Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel), was a sham as it was formed within five days of putting up an advert seeking for bidders to supply bicycles.
The judge noted that the bicycle firm was formed purely to facilitate the fraud as Aitel did not have the past experience of handling a huge consignment of supplying 70,000 bicycles. The judge referred to the directors of Aitel as rogues and con men.
Further, the judge said Erongot, Mwebaze, and Aluma who were facing the charge of abuse of office and were part of the evaluation committee, should have disqualified Aitel from the initial stages as it did not qualify to supply the 70,000 and it was not on the bidding forms.
In December 2019,the Court of Appeal upheld the 10-year jail term sentence that was handed to John Muhanguzi Kashaka, the former Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary, for causing a 4.2 billion financial loss to the government, in the infamous bicycle deal scandal.The same court also upheld the punishment that was handed to the former principal accountant Henry Bamutura, former assistant commissioner in charge of policy and planning, Sam Emorut Erongot who were both to serve a 13 year jail term.
The bicycles that were supposed to be used by parish and village local council chairpersons in the 2011 general elections.have not been delivered to date and over 4.2bn was lost in this scandal.