Fresh twist in Uganda-Poland fake arms saga

By Staff | The Citizen, Tanzania December 15, 2016

Kampala. A senior UPDF officer, who is alleged to have connections with a company that conned a polish firm of Shs2 billion in a fake arms deal, flew to Poland to meet the directors of the defrauded firm, the Sunday Monitor has learnt.

Military sources say the officer, at the rank of Brigadier General, left the country on the request to seek medical attention but instead went to Poland to meet the managers of BMP Poland Z.o.o.

Before he left, the army officer wrote to the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, Commander Land Forces, Maj Gen David Muhoozi, and the Joint Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Wilson Mbadi, on November 10, requesting to go for medical examination.

In the same letter Ref COS-LF/16/A, which the Sunday Monitor has seen, the officer, who is said to be under investigation by military intelligence, does not specify which country he was travelling to.

Cleared to Travel

After getting permission to travel, the Brigadier sent a military message to all army units on November 21, saying he would be out of station.

The message code named—DGT: 21730CNOV2016 sent to CDF read: “I will be out of station and while I will be away, the Chief of Staff Air Force, Brig Birungi will act on my behalf.”

He travelled on November 24 aboard RwandAir through Nairobi from where he reportedly made a connecting flight to Poland.

According to military sources, his decision to travel came after the two suspects arrested in connection with the fraud – UPDF Captain Ronald Muhoozi and Sam Simbwa, a businessman in Kampala – confirmed after the interrogation that top army officers were involved in the fake arms deal.

Sources say the Brigadier arrived in Poland to meet the directors of the company in order to settle the matter but the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, and the Director General of External Security Organisation, Julius Ocwet, who are part of the investigators, had already met officials from the defrauded company and written a report. Sunday Monitor has not yet seen this report.

At this point, the senior officer, who is said to have travelled with a White female, could not do much and returned to the country soon after.

When asked about the latest developments in the arms deal, Army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said: “I have no latest information. While it is a joint investigation, police obviously takes the lead.”

“I know he [the said Brigadier] travelled to Nairobi [and to] Mombasa. This is an old rumour. What I know is he represented the CDF at that [EAC] conference. At that time, the rumour of travel to Poland started,” he added. The scheme to defraud the Polish company was well weaved. Capt Muhoozi, Mr Simbwa and others still at large allegedly passed themselves off as contacts to the Ministry of Defence’s procurement unit in meetings with officials from BMP Poland Z.o.o.

Usually, procurement of arms is kept a secret and is regarded as classified and is closed to open bidding.

The suspects are reported to have convinced BMP Poland Z.o.o that they were representatives of an alleged Defence ministry affiliate (Prima Investments Uganda) for the supply of body armour and anti-riot equipment. (NMG)

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