HCT 005 OF 2018; Judgment entered on January 2019 BY Hon Justice GIDUDU

Hon. Justice Gidudu in upholding the rule of law set aside the judgment of His Worship Magistrate Grade 1, Lochomin Peter wherein he acquitted the two respondents of the charges of Abuse of Office and Embezzlement. Hon. Justice Gidudu in his judgment stated that the respondents, the then acting town clerk and Treasurer/Finance Officer of Bweyale Town Council respectively purchased land for the Town Council as if they were buying their own personal property; ignoring the proper procurement procedure as stipulated in Section 2 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act and Under Regulation 41 up to 66 of Statutory Instrument 2014 No.8

According to these regulations, an invitation to potential vendors is by publication of a bid notice, a prequalification exercise done, short listing or direct invitation of a sole or single provider done. Bids are supposed to be published in at least one Newspaper of wide circulation and cannot be solicited through radio adverts or in between church sermons as the respondents did. Procurement was not sourced through the Contracts and Evaluation Committees to identify, the sellers. In addition, the investigations by IGG showed that the prices of the two pieces of land that were purchased at 32 million and 28 million respectively had been inflated, the requisitions and payment vouchers for the said property were in the name of Robert Otim and not the Town Council giving an inference that the two public officers embezzled government funds.