Kampala businessman Apollo Ssenkeeto Kalyesuubula has told court that he had no role in fleecing government of Shs24.7 billion in the Kyetume- Katosi road scam.
Former Works Minister Eng.Abraham Byandala is accused with six others in the case before the Anti-Corruption Court.
On Tuesday, the seven accused started their defence before Justice Lawrence Gidudu. In his defence, Ssenkeeto who was being led by his lawyer Peter Muliira said that he was introduced to officials from Eutaw Construction Company Limited, a firm that was interested in bidding for road construction works in Uganda. He explained that before the pre-qualification process for bidding in which Eutaw wanted to bid for construction of three roads including Kapchorwa –Swam, Ishaka- Kagamba and Mukono- Katosi, he was asked to sign as one of the representatives of the US based company.
“They chose me as the local representative of Eutaw in Uganda,”Ssenkeeto told court on Tuesday during the start of his defence.
Speaking with an American accent and on many occasions speaking in ‘tongues’ attracting laughter from the members in the courtroom, the businessman turned seminarian (as told by Ssenkeeto to court) said that UNRA would later send him an email confirming that Eutaw had successfully gone through the pre-qualification process, the same email he sent to the company’s headquarters in the US. He added that officials from the US would later fly to Uganda to finalise the bidding process for the Kyetume- Katosi road.
“I took the bid myself to UNRA because by that time I was one of the directors in Eutaw.” He noted that Eutaw was announced by UNRA as the best bidder but were asked to set up a local company and accounts in Ugandan banks.
Ssenkeeto however denied having influenced the dubious payment of a certain part of the contract money to Eutaw’s account in Housing Finance Bank.
“I had nothing to do with the payment. I was a signatory because I was asked to sign the cheques. The Americans (officials for Eutaw) opened a local company where they were signatories to its accounts but later included me.”
Senkeeto is accused of uttering a false KCB Bank bid guarantee for sh1.9b in support of a bid for procurement of the road upgrade. According to evidence by the prosecution, the businessman impersonated as a representative for Eutaw and obtained an execution of performance bond of sh16.5b from insurance company of East Africa and UAP by misrepresenting to them that it was guaranteeing a pending payment for the road.
During the prosecution hearing, an official from the Eutaw headquarters in the US denied Ssenkeeto was their representative. The businessman however told court that he had either submitted or picked up the performance guarantee.
With the guidance of his lawyer Ssenkeeto later changed his statement stressing that some other people at the Eutaw office in Kampala authored and delivered the said documents that later turned out to be fake. Justice Lawrence Gidudu adjourned the case to Wednesday for further defence hearing.