By Simon Kasyate
State House yesterday got involved in the case in which the Director of Information at the Movement Secretariat, Mr Ofwono Opondo, was reported to have shoplifted two items from Uchumi Supermarket at Garden City mall in Kampala.
Sources at Garden City revealed that three plain-clothed intelligence officers from State House and one officer from the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) visited the Uchumi premises and took down statements.
"They asked to take the statement of our country manager, the security personnel that handled Ofwono and also took a copy of Ofwono's statement," said a source who preferred anonymity.
However the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB) has denied any involvement in the case. Lt. Edson Kwesisa, the PGB spokesman, said he was not aware of any officers of the Brigade investigating the matter.
"PGB does not investigate matters that are committed outside our jurisdiction," he said.
Opondo is suspected to have shoplifted a pair of underwear and a Bic pen from the supermarket. He was reportedly fined after recording a statement with the store's security department under a false name.
In a letter to The Monitor yesterday, Opondo said the paper's story, "which hit me a little below the belt, was exaggerated and generally tried to scandalise my names before my family, friends, and right thinking people."
He said he had only forgotten to pay for a Bic pen, but denied that any other items were involved. Opondo added that he neither recorded a statement nor got fined.
But The Monitor saw a copy of the Uchumi statement purportedly signed under the name John Richard Okello, 39. It read in part: "I got these items in shelf but put the pen in pocket and a loose under pant together with my handkerchief. I am sorry for the mishap."
Uchumi management was tightlipped on the presence of the intelligence officers at their premises yesterday and declined to comment on the shoplifting incidence.
"Shoplifting is part of the supermarket business and as far as we are concerned, this is no special case," Uchumi country manager David Njenga said. "Our interest in such a matter is recovery of the goods and payment of the fine which was done, so what is the big deal?"
Sources at the same supermarket said cases of shoplifting are recorded daily. "Some do it deliberately, but others simply forget to pay and then pay the fine and it ends there," said an attendant who declined to be named.
The Spokesman Money Scum
By Lominda Afedraru
The Commercial Court has ordered the Director of Information at the Movement Secretariat, Mr Ofwono Opondo, to pay over Shs6.5 million he owes a money lending firm, Kenroy Investment Ltd.
The Deputy Court Registrar, Mr John Keitirima, made the order recently following Opondo's failure to appear in court to defend a suit the firm filed against him for recovery of the money.
"Summary judgment is hereby entered against the defendant in default of appearance in court as provided for in the law," Keitirima ruled.
Earlier on, Mr Evans Tusiime, the lawyer representing Kenroy, had asked court to enter a judgment against Opondo because he had failed to appear in court to seek leave and defend the case.
Tusiime argued that his office served Opondo with the court summons on February 3 to defend the matter within 10 days but he failed.
He said Opondo refused to sign the consent agreement with them.
Court heard that in 2002, Kenroy Investment Ltd gave Opondo a Shs3 million loan.
The management of the firm reached an agreement with Opondo to pay back the money with in 15 months with an interest of 5 percent per month.
It is alleged that Opondo paid part of the loan leaving a balance that accumulated to Shs6.5 million including unpaid interest.
Court heard that Opondo gave the firm a Barclays Bank cheque that bounced.
By Simon Kasyate