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Former Mulago Hospital Boss Remanded Over Ugx 6.3 Billion Loss :: Uganda Radionetwork

Former Mulago Hospital Boss Remanded Over Ugx 6.3 Billion Loss

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He and six others are accused causing government a 6.3 billion shillings loss in irregular and double payments.
19 Jun 2024 16:50
Dr Baterana Byarugaba the Former Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital appearing before Court.
The Anti Corruption Court in Kampala has remanded the former Executive Director of Mulago National Referral Hospital  Dr. Byarugaba Baterana Bonaventura  to Luzira prison on charges of abuse of office. He and six others are accused causing government a 6.3 billion shillings loss  in irregular  and double payments.

They were  on Wednesday arraigned before the Court presided over by the Acting Senior Principal Grade One Magistrate, Abert Asiimwe. They were slapped with 19 charges. Although 10 people were expected to appear before the court, only seven did.

The others who were remanded include the former Head of the Engineering Department at the hospital, Edward Kataha, the former Senior Mulago Hospital  Administrator Kenneth Wafula, and Senior Procurement officers Christopher Okware and Adah Kamucunguzi.

Also charged are the the Directors and shareholders of Setramaco  International Limited, Robert Wasike and Catherine Winfred Nabwire who allegedly used their  company to invoice Mulago National Referral  Hospital for double payments of non-existent equipments and other non-executed works.

Those who did not not appeare before the Magistrate are Assistant Engineer Perezi Baganda, the former Assistant Commissioner Accounts/Head Accounts section, Ponziano Nyeko and the the former Senior Accountant, Charles Mwasa.

It is alleged that during the years 2019 and 2020, while at Mulago National Referral Hospital Dr Baterana, Nyeko and Mwasa being authorized users of the integrated Financial Management System, in abuse of the authority of their respective offices flouted payment procedures , when they irregularly processed payment of 3.6 billion Shillings to Setramaco International Limited.

The money was purportedly meant to pay for the supply of consumables used in routine servicing and repair of large size sterilization equipment of an alleged capacity of 1,500 litres, which never existed at the said hospital.

According to the charges sanctioned by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jane Frances Abodo, that was an act prejudicial to the interests of their employer: Mulago National Referral Hospital and the government of Uganda.

Prosecution contends that 1.5 billion Shillings was lost by Mulago Hospital to Setramaco International Limited for routine servicing of the sterilization equipment. It is alleged that Kataha and Okware paid the said 3.6 billion Shillings to Setramaco without following the established procurement protocol.

While Wasike and  Catherine Winfred Nabwire being the shareholders of Setramaco International Limited used their company to invoice Mulago Hospital  to demand for the payment. The DPP says that resulted into a loss to the government yet they knew such fictitious works would cause a loss to the hospital.

It is further alleged that Eng. Kataha and Kenneth Wafula  irregularly certified non-executed works of routine servicing and repair of non-existent machines.

On the other hand, Adah Kamucunguzi, a procurement officer allegedly flouted public procurement procedures during the procurement of services for the repair of the sterilization equipment at Old Mulago, Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals. 

The prosecution said that the regular award of the said contract to Setramaco International Limited at a contract price of 7.5 billion shillings was prejudicial to the interests of the employer. 

Prosecution also alleges  that Kenneth Wafula and Christopher Okware during the Financial Year 2016/2017 at Mulago Hospital being employed as Senior Hospital Administrator /Secretary Contracts Committee and Senior Procurement Officer respectively flouted public procurement procedures during the relocation and reinstallation of the Multi ironer from lower Mulago to Upper Mulago which resulted into an irregular award of 196,521,630 Shillings to Setramaco International Limited.

It is  further alleged that Dr Byarugaba Baterana, Engineer Kataha, Nyeko, Wafula, Okware , Kamucunguzi and Perez Matanda irregularly caused multiple payments to Setramaco International Limited and Convention Works all totalling 774,277,860 for the said alleged relocations .  

Prosecutors contend that they had  a reason to believe that such duplicate payments for works that were already paid for would cause financial loss to the Hospital. For that matter arising from this transaction ,Wasike and Nabwire have been charged with causing financial loss for receiving the monies on behalf of their respective companies.

Further,  it is alleged that Christopher Okware and Adah Kamucunguzi, during the financial year 2017/2018 still at Mulago Hospital attached to the Public Procurement and Disposal Unit of Mulago in abuse of authority flouted public procurement procedures during the procurement of their respective offices during the procurement of molten blankets , guiding tapes and conveyor belt for the laundry unit resulting into the irregular award of a contract worth 179,595,000 to Convention World Limited , an act that was also prejudicial.

It is also alleged that besides causing the double payments of 179.5  million Shillings, Dr Baterana, Nyeko , Wafula and Kamucunguzi again made a double payment of 186,912,000 million Shillings to Setramaco International Limited yet the award was previously given to Conventional World Limited to offer the same services of fixing molten blankets among others.

The Court heard that in 2016/2017 Dr Baterana, Okware and Kamucunguzi and Matanda irregularly caused double payments of 196,656,750 to Setramaco International Limited for alleged relocation of steam cooking pane to Upper Mulago a contract that was previously awarded to the said company by Mulago, hence a financial loss as well.

According to the Prosecution, the accused also caused payments of 198,871,300 to Convention World Limited for alleged relocation of steam cooking Pans yet the same company had already been given the same contract.

All the seven accused persons who have appeared before the Court have denied the charges against them. Prosecution led by State Attorney Raymond Mugisa have informed Court that investigations into this matter are about to be completed.

However, the Magistrate Asiimwe has declined to hear their bail application saying that time had gone and given the long  procedure for applying bail requiring applicants to apply, then  Prosecution to reply and applicants to make a rejoinder, and each person to present atleast 2 sureties, it was not possible for him to hear their application.

He thus sent them to prison until June 24, 2024.

Dr Byarugaba was first indicted in September 2022 following  his arrest in March 2022 by the State House Monitoring Unit on allegations of abuse of office,  embezzlement ,causing financial loss and fraudulent false accounting of 28.8 billion Shillings.

Subsequently,  the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine, interdicted Dr Baterana  over the  said  multi- billion Shillings accounting scandals.

Dr Baterana  who was arrested last week but not produced immediately to court because of sickness was then reinstated in 2023 before he handed over office months later.