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MUSEVENI ORDERS REVOVACTION OF UNRA PROSECUTION POWERS

By Joshua Walakira

In a bid to trim the wings of the bubbly UNRA Legal Affairs Director Mary Kutesa Kamuli, cabinet has directed the scaling down of legal operations at UNRA in order for the roads authority to concentrate on its core mandate of road construction and maintenance. When she became Director Legal Affairs a few years ago, Kutesa introduced a fully-fledged law firm for UNRA and she justified this on grounds it would save the entity money. Her argument was the old UNRA had lost lots of money (billions) hiring external lawyers who sometimes connived with litigants to defeat the entity in court resulting into payment of billions in damages and court awards. The UNRA board liked her presentation and the proposal was voted and implementation began. All the external lawyers were dropped and some protested the resultant breach of contract by suing UNRA. Allen Kagina in the end praised her blue eyed girl Kutesa for saving money and making the legal department more vibrant. This made flamboyant Kutesa grow wings and many times she has treated aggrieved contractors with contempt to the extent of telling some of them that she doesn’t fear anyone including the President. She famously took part in the Kagina dispute with Dott Services which in the end UNRA lost badly with the President siding with Dott Services bosses who Kutesa was determined to destroy beyond repair. Kutesa didn’t relent. She carried on being very powerful and spent most of her time cancelling people’s contracts, a thing that angered workmates in the procurement and other Directorates. Taking no prisoners in her approach to “big headed contractors,” Kutesa didn’t prioritize mediation/out of court settlements and her subordinates were always quick to arrogantly tell aggrieved contractors “go to Court and we shall pay you later because UNRA has a lot of money.”

Mary Kutesa

BECOMES PROSECUTOR;

Under the cover of powerful Kagina, Kutesa also took on prosecution powers after securing the prosecution license from the DPP who is mandated to delegate such powers. UNRA became one of the few government MDAs with powers to prosecute their own cases and Kutesa had a very adversarial relationship with guys at Attorney General’s chambers. It wasn’t hard to convince DPP Mike Chibita to give that license because he previously worked as Kagina’s PA at URA and Kutesa herself worked in the DPP office before joining URA legal department from where she became Director Legal at UNRA. There are concerns that these powers have quite often been improperly used as many of the contractors Kutesa considers unfriendly have found themselves maliciously prosecuted. This has always been her strategy to get aggrieved contractors with good cases to back off and not sue UNRA in civil proceedings. She has often accused unwanted contractors of criminal acts like forgery and others. Such claims have been used as ground to commence criminal prosecution in the magistrate courts against directors of companies that Kutesa doesn’t like in the procurement processes. Being the strategist she is, Kutesa also ensured a good working relationship with a one Segawa who heads the legal department at PPDA. This improper use of prosecution powers recently got to the attention of the President who summoned Board Chairman Fred Omach to discuss the less than impressive UNRA performance when it comes to outputting and completing road projects on time. In one of the meetings, Museveni is said to have told the UNRA board members thus: “Allen Kagina was always a good performer but the current underperformance at UNRA is because I’m told she is being misled by a group of lawyers led by a certain young lady called Mary Kutesa. I’m told she has confused her a lot on many things and a lot of time is being lost in the courts.” The Board members didn’t take Museveni’s statement very seriously only to recently be informed of the cabinet directive to line minister Monica Azuba to ensure that UNRA’s prosecution powers are quickly curtailed to enable the entity concentrate on its core mandate which is road construction and maintenance. The process is already on to get the DPP revoke the UNRA prosecution license and its feared this could begin the process to cut to size Mary Kutesa who, as Director Legal, has always cut the larger than life figure. “In fact in the end, the legal function will be diminished to a mere desk as it was during the old UNRA because being in court all the time it’s not part of the Authority’s core mandate and besides the AG chambers is there to give legal support from time to time,” said sources close to the matter. The day that happens, there are many aggrieved persons even amongst fellow Directors at UNRA, deprived private law firms and private contractors in town that are waiting to dance on Mary Kutesa’s professional grave. “She has marginalized many people using that office and some of them are planning to sue her personally and you will see her sweating plasma in court of law the moment that UNRA veil is gone and everybody has been sent home after disbanding the entity as part of rationalization of government entities,” said a UNRA insider. Some sympathized with her saying her conduct (being hard on people) is partly informed by her past work experience as an excellent prosecutor in the DPP. (Story adopted from Red Pepper).  For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.

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