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SMOKED OUT! Energy Ministry Boss Byokunda netted for fleecing $50m from Serbian investor

A general view of the Amber House Building where the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is located (Photo/Getty Images)

Kampala, (UG): Highly placed information reaching this publication indicates that a senior officer at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development sitting at Amber House in Kampala is currently detained allegedly for orchestrating the move to fleece a total of USD 50m from a Serbian investor.

The official identified as Spero Byokunda, who heads the Department of Petroleum Quality and Assurance at the Energy Ministry is currently detained at Kampala CPS under reference No- ACU GEF 176/23 after he was smoked out from his hideout by the State House Anti-corruption Unit.

It is alleged that, on the 22nd of August this year, Byokunda and others still at large, arranged a meeting between a Serbian investor who wanted to undertake Energy-related projects at Amber House inside the ministry’s Boardroom but he never attended. He allegedly instructed George Byomugabe to chair the meeting and introduced himself as Minister of Energy and Mineral Development in disguise.

A source privy to the matter told this publication that after the meeting, Byokunda demanded the last instalment from the investor who later became suspicious, and thought of knowledge and guidance from higher authorities in government. The investor was then advised not to pay until it would be the authorities became aware of the people he was dealing with.

Intelligence swings in

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A counter-intelligence trap was then set by state intelligence detectives using the investor and pledged to pay them USD 20m. The USD 20m was supposed to be picked from the hotel where the said investor was residing.

However, upon learning that it was a trap, Byokunda and his colleagues declined to go and pick up the money for fear of being apprehended. This sparked off an intense investigation until now, the involved people are being netted like mosquitoes.

How operatives outset the arrests

As it is well for their outsmart intelligence, the Statehouse Anti-corruption team took up the matter very confidently, and officers at the Ministry of Energy were seen being taken one by one until the big fish was in their hands.

A source at Amber House said that the arrests began when the secretary to the Minister of Energy together with Byokunda’s secretary were taken. They added that according to CCTV cameras, these were directly involved in preparing the meeting venue at the Ministry’s Boardroom. After the the interrogation where they narrated the whole ordeal behind the said meeting, they were later released.

This further led to the arrest of one George Byomugabe on Thursday last week who was first taken to CPS in Kampala, then later to Wandegeya Police station for more interrogation. He was later released on Police bond after spending 5 days behind the coolers.

This publication has learnt that it was from then that state detectives discovered other people who were involved. This later led to the arrest of two more people; John Bosco Mugisha aka Boyzon, a Personal Assistant to Hon. Chris Baryomunsi who is the Minister of ICT and National guidance, and finally Spero Byokunda was also picked.

Upon their arrest, the two spilt the secret of who the other members of the gang were, both working in government and others in private business. The two are still inside police coolers

Previous scandals

In addition to the matter, this publication has learnt that Mr Spero Byokunda has severally been involved in many books of corrupt scandals in the past, dating back to his times at the Uganda Revenue Authority.

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Credible information suggests that while working with the tax collecting body, Byokunda was dismissed for having been involved in fraudulent transactions.

Again at the Ministry of Energy where he’s currently deployed, he’s the same person among others who was earlier this year in April ordered by IGG to refund shs 70,159,400/= ( Ref: New Vision 5th April 2023, pg 17) which he has not refunded to the treasury to-date.

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