The Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped abuse of office charges that had been sanctioned against the interdicted Executive Director of the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB), Dr. Charles Lagu.
Lagu was arrested last year together with Ezekiel Philp Mukanini, 31, a procurement officer, Olivious Komujuni, 27, animal husbandry officer, and Emmanuel Rumanzi Kafute, 37, the director Nauruma Holdings Ltd and charged with four counts of abuse of office, causing financial loss and conspiracy to defraud .
They were later released on bail.
However, in a twist of events, the Director of Public Prosecutions has informed the Anti- Corruption Court in Kololo that she has lost interest in the case and has since dropped the charges.
“This is to inform court that the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided to discontinue proceedings against Dr. Charles Lagu and Olivious Komujuni charged with four counts of abuse of office, causing financial loss, obtaining money by false pretense and conspiracy to defraud,” Jane Frances Abodo said in the withdrawal form also copied to the Resident State Attorney for the Anti-Corruption Court and the Regional CID officer for Kampala Metropolitan East.
Prosecution alleged that on October 15, 2018, Dr Lagu did an arbitrary act prejudicial to his employer when he authorised a call off order in favour of Nuruma Holdings Limited for them to supply and deliver 1,000 and 600 kilograms of Chloris Gayana to Nshara Ranch and Sanga Field Station respectively worth shs 54.4 million without a request and confirmation of need from the said farms.
It was also alleged that on January 8,2019, the NAGRC boss also effected payment of shs 51 million to Nuruma Holdings Limited for supply of the said products without a confirmation and request of need from the said field farms.
Prosecution accused Mukanizi of having initiated the procurement process leading to the said illegalities and in the process was part of the beneficiaries of the said monies.
Komujuni who was employed at Ruhengyere Field Station in Kiruhura District was being accused of releasing the products in question to Nuruma Holdings Limited.
According to prosecution, the said procurement was fictitious because the supply was got from Ruhengere field station in Kiruhura district to Nshaara Ranch and Sanga field stations.
However, following his arrest by the State House Anti -Corruption Unit, Lagu said he was being witch-hunted by some individuals he referred to as mafia whom he had forced off government land.
“When you do a good job, you become a problem( to some people). We have dealt with encroachers, land grabbers and so many people. They could be behind all this,” Dr.Lagu said as he was being whisked away to police.
When asked to mention names of those behind the woes, the NAGRC boss said investigations will reveal everything.
A big chunk of land belonging to NAGRIC and houses government ranches was either encroached on or grabbed in various parts of the country.
For example, encroachers took over 15 square miles of government land in Ruhengyere, Nshaara and Sanga ranches in Kiruhura District.
Lt Col (Rtd) Bright Rwamirama, the State for Agriculture in charge of Animal and Veterinary Affairs last year directed that everyone who has encroached on government ranch land vacates it with immediate effect.
“I can’t see a government facility is there, police is there but encroachers are on the land. I will not tolerate that nonsense,”Rwamirama said.
“There is no trespass on government land. You cannot just come to encroach on government land. They (encroachers) must leave the land immediately. Let them go to court to prove the ownership of the land,” Rwamirama said in February.
According to Dr.Lagu after efforts to force encroachers and grabbers off the land started, his woes also took another direction.