The officials at the Ant-corruption court today morning. Photo by Simon Lubega

Four senior officials of the Ministry of Education and Sports have been charged for soliciting a Shs228 million bribe to award a contract to a bidding firm.

It is alleged that the four officials asked for the gratification from construction company, Synergy Enterprises to conduct a due diligence in its favour to be awarded a contract for construction of a vocational institute facility in Bushenyi.

The suspects; Edward Frederick Lubinga an Architectural Assistant, Doreen Matovu Lwanga (Civil Engineer and Acting Head of Construction Management Unit), Hajji Abdul Nsubuga (Project Management Professional) and Solomon Kaigia a Quantity Surveyor who has also been working as the project coordinator, all working with the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The four officials appeared before the Anti-corruption Court at Kololo and denied charges of alleged corruption, abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud after soliciting for a 10 percent bribe of the total contract price.

Presiding magistrate Moses Nabende granted the suspects bail upon paying cash bail.

The court ordered Lubinga to pay cash bail of Shs4m, Matovu (Shs2m) while Hajji Nsubuga and Kaigia were ordered to pay Shs1.5m each.

Meanwhile, the magistrate has postponed the case to August 4 for mention.

Prosecutor Harrient Angom told court that investigations into the case were still ongoing.

The suspects were arrested by detectives attached to the State House Anti-corruption Unit and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) of the Police, following a tip off that they had got Shs120 million and that they were pressuring the contractor to pay the balance.

Prosecution alleges that between August 2019 and March 2020 in Kampala, Lubinga being employed by the education ministry and in performance of his duties, solicited for a gratification of Shs50m for himself from Robert Zzinga Nsimbe as an inducement to conduct due diligence on his company; Synergy Enterprises and recommend it for contract award.

It is alleged that Lubinga received Shs25m as an inducement from Nsimbe, to conduct a due diligence for his company and that in abuse of the authority of his office, he demanded Shs50m for himself from Nsimbe as an inducement.

The state alleges that between August 2019 and March 2020, Doreen Lwanga Matovu appointed the contracts manager of the Uganda Skills Development project for Bushenyi Cluster irregularly issued variant contract terms and specifications to the contractor without following the PPDA laws and contract agreement, thereby frustrating and stalling construction work at Nyamitanga Technical Institute.

Prosecution states that Matovu corruptly neglected her duty as a contracts manager to inspect and approve the construction materials at the Construction sites before commencement of work, thereby compromising the quality of the construction.

It is alleged that the Ministry of Education and Sports officials; Lubinga, Matovu, Hajji Nsubuga and Kaigia conspired to defraud Nsimbe of Shs228m which was 10 percent of the contract sum for construction of a facility at Nyamitanga Vocational Technical Institute.