UPDF’s Top AMISOM Commander Convicted on 3 Sexual Offences

The Convict Lt Col Benson Oulanya in Court today

The UNRA probe commission has spotted illegalities and mismanagement of resources in the procurement of fuel at the Mbarara UNRA station.

Appearing as a witness, healing the former manager at the Mbarara station, Mr. Asaph Abeneitwe told the commission that the station often took fuel on credit because the card holder was not always conveniently available.

He claimed that it wasn’t practical for an order to be made for each time that necessitated fuel consumption. The commission however faulted Mr. Abeneitwe who is currently the Acting Regional Manager Southern for committing UNRA by borrowing fuel which was more than that allocated.

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Commissioner Abraham Nkata tasked the witness to explain whether he has written approval by the UNRA Executive Director to do so.

“As a station manager, I was delegated the Accounting Officer’s powers to a certain point” said Mr. Abeneitwe. “Consuming the fuel on credit was an arrangement between the station and the service provider based on our confidence that we had more allocation the following month.”

However, Nkata insisted to stress that the then station manager misused government funds without following the stipulated channels. “Your decission to commit UNRA to such big credit transactions was irregular and illegal. Delegation of procurement authority is catered for in the law, and thus your actions outside the procurement guidelines were illegal” stated Commissioner Nkata.

The witness went ahead to argue that the Mbarara station had too much work load compared to other UNRA stations and thus getting equal fuel allocations as the others wasn’t realistic.

“Mbarara station triples or even quadruples most of the stations in the country. The fuel given to us was always disapropriate.”

The other issue that raised concern was the fact that Mbarara station often drew fuel at once and hoarded it in advance. The witness said this was done to avoid losing their balance since fuel given by Shell was given for a particular month.

“We did this to avoid the inconveniencing long appeal process that was required to recover a balance” the witness said. According to the figures provided to the commission by Shell Uganda, staff at Mbarara station drew fuel as much as 9,000 litres in a single day.

In Mr. Abeneitwe’s breakdown of fuel consumption however, these ‘abnormal’ transactions were not reflected. It showed daily fuel withdraws in a range of 10 to 50 litres. In his recommendations to the commission, Mr. Abeneitwe proposed that UNRA provides proportionate fuel to its stations.

He admitted that his management failed to put measures to control fuel consumption but claimed that circumstances often forced him to improvise certain actions.
Makindye General Court Martial has Thursday convicted former battalion 343 commander of the AMISOM army in Somalia, diagnosis Lt Col Benson Oulanya on three charges of expressing sexual desires towards three UPDF officers.

The General Court Martial Chairman Major Levi Karuhanga convicted the accused on the first count of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline, pill where by the accused is faulted for expressing sexual advances towards Corporal Aida Mungoma.

Prosecution relied on the victim’s evidence where she told court that the accused woke her from sleep, grabbed her and forcefully hugged her which was against Rule 4 of AMISOM Code of Conduct which prohibits AMISOM personnel from engaging in sexual relationships with African Union staff.

Aida’s testimony collaborated with Prosecution witnesses Lt Sarah Babirye and Capt. Susan Muwanga who informed court that Mungoma had earlier reported to them the accused’s sexual demands thus proving beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed this offence.

Col Oulanya was also convicted on the second count of expressing sexual desires towards Pte Auma Agnes, whom he allegedly on two occasions requested to be become his mistress during the mission in Somalia.

This was further proved by the corroborative evidence from Lt Sarah Babirye Head of Female soldiers in battalion 343 and Capt Suzan Muwanga in charge of women affairs at BG level, who told court that Auma had reported to them this matter on several occasions.

Finally Col Oulanya was convicted with making sexual advances Pte Mulongo Madina who testified that the accused called her to a residence of a fellow soldier Pte Margaret Achaye and asked to serve as his wife.

Meanwhile the accused was acquitted on five offences related to guard duties, abuse and violence of his inferiors, ill-treatment of his subordinates. State failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he committed these offences.

Olaunya was also accused of disrespect on allegations that he refused to return a salute to Private Auma Agnes her subordinate due to the fact that she had failed to respond to his call in the previous night.

Court however ruled that the act of superiors saluting back to their superiors is not published anywhere in the UPDF Act and could not be basis of criminalization.

State prosecution led by Major Fredrick Kangwamu asked court to grant a deterrent sentence to the convict because he is not a first offender, he committed the offences on international mission where UPDF has to protect its image and that the people he offended were his juniors whom he had to show a very good example.

The accused was arraigned before the General court martial on October 25,  2013 and he was charged with eight counts with offences resulting from the period he spent in Somalia as the 343 Battalion commander.


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