A specific case involves Umar Katongole, a former engineer with the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), who is currently facing allegations of money laundering and illicit enrichment.
It has been revealed in court that Katongole, along with his wife Hawa Sengendo, constructed a commercial apartment worth sh2.4 billion.
Principal quantity surveyor Brian Pliers Ashabahebwa, testifying as the 27th prosecution witness, explained that he assessed the value of Katongole’s commercial apartment as sh2.4 billion. This valuation was requested by the Inspectorate of Government (IGG).
The apartment was located on plots 280, 281, and 282 in Mengo, Kampala. Ashabahebwa, associated with Stanfield Property Partner in Kampala, was assigned to determine the cost of the building based on the prevailing market value of materials at the time.
Ashabahebwa’s evaluation included considerations of construction materials, labor costs, and other factors. He took into account materials such as doors, windows, roofing, door frames, and finishing, which led him to conclude that the cost was sh2.4 billion.
He stated that his report was 97% accurate. He also mentioned that the cost of construction materials had risen by 2.4% in September 2017 compared to the previous year.
The prosecution, led by Brenda Kimbugwe and Sylvia Nabirye from the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), alleges that Katongole concealed the origins of his properties, transferring ownership to Darkins Uganda Limited, a company believed to be associated with him.
It is also claimed that Katongole and Sengendo deposited sh2.8 billion in Tropical Bank Limited, disguising the source of the funds and transferring them between accounts to further obscure their origin.
Katongole and Sengendo have both denied the charges against them. During cross-examination, their defense lawyer, Aggrey Bwire, challenged the credibility of Ashabahebwa’s evaluation, claiming bias and overestimation of material costs.
The case has been adjourned for further cross-examination and testimony from other prosecution witnesses, scheduled for September 6, 7, and 8.