Gov’t confiscates over Ushs1 billion meant for firm with links to Sejjusa
The government has confiscated a large sum of cash destined for a law firm with links to Gen. David Sejjusa on imagined fears that the cash could help fund rebellion.
The money; USD350, 2016 destined to Makman Logistics, a law firm where Gen. David Ssejjusa’s son Kenneth Munungu works.
Details obtained by The Sunrise show that the USD350,000 was wired from Paris to a Makman account in Equity bank in Uganda.
Perhaps because of the amounts involved and in step with anti-money laundering procedures, the bank acting in concert with government officials sought to establish the legality of the funds.
The Sunrise has established that Makman officers told weary authorities that the money was part payment for a commission they were entitled to following the work they did for a Chinese company to secure a tender for a major road project in Eastern Uganda.
The Chinese construction company CGCOC group hired Makman to secure the contract to build two roads; Tororo-Lira-Kamdini as well as the Soroti-Dokoro-lira road on grounds that they would pay the law firm half a million dollars.
The law firm succeeded in securing the tender resulting into the transaction that is now at the center of the dispute.
On arrival, however, the dollars were confiscated by the financial intelligence authority (FIA) acting on behalf of the government of Uganda.
There are pointers suggesting that government could have seized the dollars fearing that the same was destined for Gen. David Sejusa. President Yoweri Museveni has openly accused his former intelligence czar ‘of being up to something sinister’, a tongue-in-cheek allusion to subversion.
What are the pointers? To start with, Mushabe, Munungu and company advocates who drafted the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) over which CGCOC paid Makman are well known lawyers for Sejusa.
Mushabe has been representing Gen. Sejusa in his on-going military related charges and actually saved the hard-nosed military general from being tried by the General Court Martial –at least for the time being.
The same lawyer also helped Sejusa to secure his release from Luzira prison by successfully applying for bail for the Luweero bush war hero. Mushabe’s partner, Kenneth Munungu is a son to Sejusa, aside from representing the out-of-favor military general in his court matters.
Since the president is on record accusing Sejusa of working to oust him, this same fact would render analysts to believe that government could have seized the dollars fearing that he (Sejusa) was going to use the funds to facilitate his supposed rebellion.
That not withstanding, sources within the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) housed inside Rwenzori House in the upscale Nakasero part of Kampala capital city told this newspaper that they suspected the dollars to be a product of money laundering.
“Part of our assignment is to detect money laundering and then act accordingly. We are investigating,” our sources stated.
Commercial banks in Uganda are under stringent directives to surrender either to the central bank or FIA money suspected to have been derived from unlawful activities as well as one that is intended to sponsor prohibited activities, particularly terrorism related activities.
The Sunrise has reliably learn’t that the Chinese company has since the seizure of the money dispatched two senior officers to convince Equity bank and FIA that it is them who paid out the money and that it was not dirty in any way.
We established the particulars of one of the Chinese senior officers. He is Chen Wang. We understand that Cheng is the deputy country director of CGCOC Group.
The other Chinese senior officer flew into the country from the CGCOC African headquarters in Ethiopia to join Chen for purposes of having FIA release the funds under seizure.
We learn’t as well how the supposed recipient of the dollars in Uganda (Makman Logistics) have also been fighting vigorously to prove to Equity bank as well as FIA that they actually did consultancy work for CGCOC and are accordingly entitled to the dollars under seizure.
The stand-off started on June 24 this year when Equity wrote to Makman Logistics asking them to present documents to prove they were entitled to the funds and for what. This is the day the dollars arrived in the country from Paris.
We learn’t that on receipt of the letter, a representative of Makman one Joel Muyanja sent in an invoice for services rendered to CGCOC as well as the relevant TT document. The bank clung on the money still.
This prompted the representative of Makman, Mayanja and Chen to go to the bank on June 26, 2016 to explain that the CGCOC headquarters in Ethiopia had actually wired the money to cover consultancy fees.