Sam Emorut Erongot the reported missing convict and the former commissioner in charge of policy and planning in ministry of Local Government has surrendered himself to authorities in Luzira prison to start serving his 13-year jail sentence.
Erongot was convicted together with John Muhanguzi Kashaka, Henry Bamutura, Adam Aluma, Robert Mwebaze and Timothy Musherure for causing a financial loss of Shs 4.2 billion to the government after misappropriating money meant for the purchase of bicycles for Local Council leaders across the country.
Government had planned to purchase 70,000 bicycles for LC and parish chairpersons ahead of the 2011 general elections. But Erongot and his co-accused contracted a sham company, Ammam Industrial Tools and Equipment Limited (AITEL) to purchase the bicycles in India.
In a conviction judgment passed slightly more than five years ago, justice Catherine Bamugemereire highlighted that the company which was awarded the contract to supply the bicycles was non-existent. Bamugemereire referred to the directors of AITEL as rogues and conmen, noting that their supposed firm was formed purely to facilitate fraud.
As a result, Erongot was jailed for 13 years, Kashaka, the former permanent secretary of the ministry of Local Government and Henry Bamutura, the former principal accountant were jailed for 10 years. However, the convicts challenged the sentences describing them as harsh and not valid in law.
But the same sentences were upheld by the Court of Appeal last month, sending the three officials to Luzira prison to start serving their punishment. But by the time the court registrar, Dr Agnes Nkonge finished reading the judgment, Erongot, who had spent five years out on bail had disappeared. URN has since learnt that Erongot took himself to Luzira prison a few days after he was reported missing.
A source who preferred anonymity noted that before prosecution could go back to court to seek for his warrant of arrest, they received information that Erongot had peacefully taken himself to prison. The source explained that Erongot had reportedly gone back to his home to clear some family-related issues before surrendering himself to prison authorities.
The spokesperson of the Uganda Prisons Services Frank Baine confirmed that Erongot is in their custody in Luzira and that their records never captured him as a missing convict because he returned to prison on the same day, his colleagues were returned to serve their respective sentences.