The Director of Public Prosecutions has written to the Anti -Corruption Court in Kololo informing them of a decision to drop charges against four Office of the Prime Minister officials accused of taking part in the Covid-19 relief food scandal.
Four OPM officials including former Permanent Secretary , Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Accountant Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner for Procurement Fred Lutimba and Commissioner for Disaster Management Martin Owor were accused of false accounting during the purchase of relief food including posho and beans.
They are have been battling charges before the Anti- Corruption Court after being arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Col Edith Nakalema.
However, according to a Nolle Prosequi by the DPP Jane Frances Abodo, the government intends to drop charges against the four officials.
“Take notice that the government of Uganda intends that the proceedings against the four officials shall not continue,” Abodo said in the document presented before court on Friday.
The development means the charges against the four OPM officials have been dropped by the DPP.
The group was accused of doing acts prejudicial to their employer when they prepared and issued false entries between March 31 and April 8, 2020 in award letters to several companies to supply Covid-19 relief items such as maize and milk worth more than Shs32 billion in total disregard of the procurement procedures.
They were also being accused of using their offices to defraud government after making false entries of the award letters to the companies to supply relief items purporting that the money had been allocated by the OPM contracts committee which was false.
The exoneration of the four OPM officials comes on the background of an earlier request by former Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda to the president seeking his intervention in ensuring the charges are dropped.
In Rugunda’s view, Guwatudde and her team delivered the job in a short time to enable government launch the distribution exercise.
“Your excellency, the time frame within which these officers had to implement our directive which was procurement in nature normally with strict guidelines and regulations was very limited. Time constraints notwithstanding, food was delivered and the distribution program was launched on the stipulated date as directed,” Rugunda wrote in an October, 5, 2020 letter to President Museveni.