Former PS Onen Defends Ministers as Chogm Trial Starts

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In short
The Chogm trial has kicked off with former permanent secretary ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Julius Onen telling court that the accused three ministers committed no crime.

The Chogm trial has kicked off with former permanent secretary ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Julius Onen telling court that the accused three ministers committed no crime.
 
Onen told the Anti Corruption Court in Kampala that the ministers did not illegally convene to commit government to meet the cost of construction of driveways, parking yard and marina at Speke Resort Munyonyo and as such, no prejudice was done to government.
 
Ambassador Onen was testifying against ministers Sam Kutesa for Foreign Affairs, Eng. John Nasasira, in charge General Duties in the Office of the Prime Minister and Mwesigwa Rukutana, the State Minister for Labour, who are accused of abuse of office and causing financial loss of 14 billion shillings during preparations for the 2007 Chogm summit.
 
The purpose of the meeting by the three ministers together with Ambassador Onen and others at Speke Resort Munyonyo was intended to see whether the facilities there could suit the standards of the Commonwealth Summit, like providing a possible water escape route by delegates in case of any security threat.Munyonyo, owned by business tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, was among the hotels to accommodate the visiting presidents and heads of government who were to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in November 2007.
 
However, towards the end of his testimony, public prosecutor Sydney Asubo asked the Onen as to why he signed on the memorandum of understanding which was contrary to his testimony.
 
Before he could explain the contradictions, defense lawyers Didas Nkurunziza, Dr Joseph Byamugisha and Oscar Kambona objected to this move saying the state is now cross examining the witness.
 
The presiding judge, Justice Paul Mugamba, agreed with the defense lawyers and the contradictions were not explained.
 
According to the charge sheet, the ministers are accused of irregularly convening on May 17 2005 at Speke Resort Munyonyo and committing the government to fund the construction cost of the driveways, parking yard and the marina.
 
During cross examination by Kambona, Onen told court that the May 17 meeting attended by the ministers and other senior government officials was regular as they were directed by the Chogm cabinet committee to do so.
 
 The trial continues with the second prosecution witness, interdicted ministry of works chief engineer Samson Bagonza giving his testimony.
More details follow.