Court starts hearing Global Fund case

KAMPALA

The Global Fund case involving the former project coordinator of the Project Management Unit (PMU), Dr Tiberius Muhabwe, started yesterday with the first prosecution witness contradicting himself.

During cross-examination by lawyer MacDosman Kabega, a retired Health ministry permanent secretary, Mr Mohammed Kezaala, said the government signed a grant agreement with Global Fund officials for money to fight malaria, tuberculosis and HIVAids.

Mr Kezaala told the court that Clause 9 of the grant agreement stated that PMU was to only deal with DFCU bank in exchanging the US dollars into Shillings. But when state attorney Josephine Namatovu asked Mr Kezaala whether Clause 9 restricted Dr Muhebwa’s PMU to only deal with DFCU bank and not any other banks, he replied: “No, there is nothing like that..”

It is alleged that on November 11, 2004 at PMU offices, Dr Muhabwe deliberately sold $1m Global Fund money to DFCU Bank at a lower rate of Shs1,712 per dollar leaving a better rate of Shs1720 per dollar that was offered by Stanbic Bank and yet he had been cautioned by the PMU’s finance department, a move that caused a financial loss of Shs8m.

Dr Muhabwe is also accused of causing a financial loss of 100m when he allegedly sold $4b Global Fund dollars to DFCU bank at a lower rate of Shs1,700 per dollar leaving a better rate of Shs1,725 per dollar that was offered by Stanbic Bank.

Mr Kezaala denied implicating Dr Muhebwa in his statements at CIID and at the Ogoola Commission of Inquiry for having caused government financial loss as alleged.

Dr Muhabwe is jointly charged with Mr Robert Katuntu, a former DCFU Bank managing director, Mr Godfrey Lule, a former head of treasury of DFCU Bank and Mr Kituuma Magala, a High Court aocate. Court resumes today.

awesaka@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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