Thursday, 5 January 2012
OH! Uganda the sick man of Africa: Corruption , corruption and More corruption : MPs want LC bike tycoon’s death probed
MPs want LC bike tycoon’s death probed
Publish Date: Jan 06, 2012
By Henry Sekanjako
MPs have asked the Police to urgently institute a probe into the mysterious death of Asian businessman Mohinder Singh Chal, one of the directors of Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd (Aitel) the company at the center of the botched $1.7m (Sh4.7b) LC Bicycle deal.
Mohinder was on Sunday Morning found dead in his house number 17 situated on block L in the Bukoto Brown flats.
Addressing Journalists at Parliament, the MPs led by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu demanded that government forms a commission of inquiry to investigate the circumstances under which Mohinder died.
“We want government to investigate how this man died. They are saying they found him with drugs which cannot kill someone,” Katuntu said.
The MPs threatened that if government fails to commission an inquiry into Mohinder’s death, they would table a motion in parliament for the formation of a committee to investigate the matter when parliament reconvenes early next month.
“You may find that people are trying to kill evidence. The struggle to fight corruption is worse off than fighting the Al shabaab. We demand that government immediately sets up a committee to investigate his death because he is the only person who had key evidence,” added Katuntu.
Mawokota South MP Kiyingi Bbossa who is also a member of the public service committee that was investigating the botched bicycle deal said it was prudent for the government to carry out investigations into Mohinder’s death and come up with a conclusive report to avoid unwanted suspicion by the public.
“It is not proper if somebody dies when investigations in which he is one of the key suspects are at a very crucial stage. I call upon government to look into the matter because people will get scared if we don’t find out what really killed the man,” added Rukungiri municipality MP also public service committee member Roland Mugume.
Youth Mp western Region Gerald Karuhanga said there was need to investigate the untimely death of Mohinder to enable both the government and the public understand whether they was any underhand cause to his death.
“The ‘mafia’ groups have all the monies in the world, they can use it to kill evidence and investigations into the botched bicycle deal so we should have investigations into his death,” Karuhanga added.
Preliminary investigations into Mohinder’s death have indicated that he died of a blood clot. Upon his death his body was taken to Mulago hospital for a post-mortem examination which police ruled out any foul play in his death.
LCs Bicycle Company Dished Out Sh4.7 Billion in Two Days
Joyce Namutebi and Catherine Bekunda
The New Vision, 22 September 2011
OVER $1.7m (about sh4.7b) that was paid to a company contracted to supply bicycles for LC leaders was withdrawn from Stanbic Bank in two days.
The money was then reportedly wired to accounts in different countries, including India and Hong Kong.
This was disclosed by the Stanbic's legal head, Gertrude Wamala, while appearing before the public service and local government committee of Parliament yesterday.
She represented the managing director, who had been summoned to clarify the bank's role in the transaction. The summons followed accusations by the former head of procurement in the Ministry of Local Government, Robert Mwebaze, that the bank gave a "fake" bill of lading.
Wamala told MPs that the company account was credited with over sh4.7b on March 15, 2011. However, on the same day, various money transfers were made from the account.
A total of $240,000 was paid to a middleman, Patrick Bagarukayo, who also received another $100,000 on March 16. The document she presented also indicated that there was a cash withdrawal of $20,050 to Mohinder Singh Chal (Kenyan).
It further shows that $600,000 went to Infinity Exim Fze in Hong Kong. Other recipients were Wuyi Trade ($400,000), Vinsara Impex ($110,000) and Nishita Maina (Ugandan) who received $150,000.
The account, she explained, was opened on August 26, 2010 and was to be operated by Chal and Maini, but on September 2, 2010 the mandate was amended to introduce a new signatory, Arjunan Rajasekaran.
About the withdrawals, she said: "We have no responsibility with the supplier. If you take on other people's roles you become liable."
The MPs also summoned the directors of Amman industrial tools and Equipment Limited to explain why the bicycles had not been delivered, but only one of them, Mohinder Singh Chal appeared yesterday.
Chal told MPs that he left the firm before the money was paid on March 15.
Whoever embezzled LC bicycle money should pay
Publish Date: Nov 15, 2011
By Moses Balyeku
LAST month, Parliament received a report of the Committee on Public Service and Local Government in regard to the investigation into failure to procure and deliver bicycles for villages and parish councils by the ministry of Local Government.
During the investigations on June 20 when the line minister Adolf appeared before the committee he informed its members that although the ministry had paid $ 1,719,454.58 representing 40% of the purchase price for the 70,000 bicycles up to then no bicycles had been supplied yet the supplier had a contractual obligation to meet the schedule on March 25.
It is a pity that some technocrats in the Ministry of Local Government who were charged with this responsibility behaved the way they did.
Ironically, for these technocrats, the Government periodically allocates them four wheel drive cars, their fuel cards are credited promptly by the ministry’s accountant together with corresponding hefty travel allowances. One would expect that such a person who is treated that way would have sympathy to ensure that his colleague at the LC level gets a modest means of transport which is a bicycle. But was not the case.
Shockingly, in face of such scandals, the authorities that are charged with reprimanding or prosecution of the culprits become indecisive yet the Constitution is very clear on how to proceed.
Article 164 (2) states that “ Any person holding a political or public office, who directs or concurs in the use of public funds contrary to existing instructions shall be accountable for any loss arising from that use and shall be required to make good the loss even if he or she has ceased to hold that office”.
That would be the dictum for relevant organs like Criminal Investigations Department, Inspector General of Government, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority. Much as Parliament is also charged with the oversight role but if the above organs would act first, then Parliament would have a lot of concentration in making laws.
With increasing cases of corruption in the Government, the above relevant organs should make a radical change from reactive to proactive line. The best way for them to achieve this is by encouraging whistle blowing strategy. However, this will not give results if the principle of confidentiality is not adhered to.
There are cases where the confidentiality of the whistle blower is violated and he or she ends up being hunted by the corrupt he reported.
Secondly, there are higher chances that such a scandal would have been avoided if the ministry opted to award the tender to a local based company. Otherwise what is the essence of awarding such a lucrative tender to an elusive foreign company yet we have our own which can deliver.
Dealing with a local company would be more prudent considering that before the award; it is cheaper and easier to make pre investigations on the company profile, its ability to deliver and character of its directors. Procuring bicycles is not such a technical issue which would demand sourcing a foreign company which in fact makes it more expensive.
Awarding non complex tenders to foreign companies should always cause suspicion whenever a government department opts for so during procurements. Otherwise the bicycle scandal was avoidable if vigilance was mounted by the relevant organs.
Writer is the Jinja West MP
PATRICK BAGARUKAYO ALIAS BERNARD
Finally, the public service and local governments’ committee has identified one of the responsible individuals who caused government a loss of over 1.7m USD meant for the purchase of over 70,000 bicycles for village and parish councilors and chairmen.
The committee chaired by the vice chairperson, Hon Magyezi Raphael, issued a warrant of arrest for one Patrick Bagarukayo also known as Bernard who withdrew 390,000 USD in just two consecutive days.
Stanbic Bank represented by its head of legal Gertrude Wamala Karugaba revealed this withdrawal made by Bagarukayo who is still a mystery yet he is neither share holder in the company nor responsible for the bicycles deal.
Meanwhile, Stanbic bank cleared its image when it stressed that its only responsibility was to advice its client and ensure that the documents received are authentic.
Members of parliament are stunned by the fact that all that amount of money moved in just a few hands at the expense of Uganda’s tax payers’ money.
They have insisted that Bagarukayo appears before them and reveal the whole lineage of others on wanted list.
The vice chairperson of the committee has instructed Bank of Uganda and Stanbic Bank to freeze all the accounts of AITEL company not to allow any further withdrawals.
Hon Magyezi has also issued a warrant of arrest to search for Bagarukayo wherever he maybe hiding to either return the money they feasted on, bring the bicycles or faces arrest and be charged of embezzlement.
The committee has also bitterly moved ahead to hand over one of Stanbic bank’s staff Allan Atuhirwe, a branch manager of Stanbic garden city to CID to investigate his questionable relationship with the Bagarukayo clique.
Members of this committee probing this mysterious saga have vowed to search for one Raja Kasharan who is said to be currently in India to account for the same.
According to reports, Raja Kasharan withdrew 20,000 USD for his personal upkeep, he paid AMANI IMPEX INDIA a profit share of 85,000 USD and 1,000 USD to other companies in HongKong which were not involved in any way of this deal.
Investigations are also underway to find out more about the allegedly 8,500 bicycles in Mombasa as it was revealed by Mohinder Singh Chai when he appeared before this very committee.
Namirimu Bushrah and Byanjeru Edna
Bagarukayo Arrested Over Bicycle Scandal
The Monitor, 26 September 2011
The man at the center of undelivered local government bicycles scandal, Patrick Bagarukayo has been arrested this Monday by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over allegations that he defrauded taxpayers.
Mr Bagarukayo, who was being hunted by Police, is accused of misappropriation of $1.7 million (about Shs5 billion) worth of public funds meant for the procurement of 700,000 bicycles for village chairpersons and local councils.
Mr Bagarukayo had appeared in the Parliament's Public Service and Local Government Committee to explain circumstances under which he picked more than Shs1.4 billion from an account in Stanbic Bank belonging to Amman Industrial Tools and Equipment Ltd, a phantom company contracted to supply the bicycles in question. The alleged Indian supplier took the money but the bicycles were never delivered.