Tuesday May 27 2014

Acquit UDB’s boss, court assessors recommend

Uganda Development Bank Ltd chief executive officer Patricia Ojangole at the

Uganda Development Bank Ltd chief executive officer Patricia Ojangole at the Anti-Corruption Court recently. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 


KAMPALA- Two court assessors have advised the Anti-Corruption Court to acquit the chief executive officer (CEO) Uganda Development Bank Ltd (UDBL), Ms Patricia Ojangole, of charges of “conflict of interest”.

The court assessors, Ms Annet Kasendwa and Mr Fred Kiggundu, on Friday told court that the circumstantial evidence adduced by the prosecution needed to be corroborated with direct evidence in order to prove the charges, but the Inspector General of Government (IGG), who is prosecuting the matter, failed to do so.

The assessors said the omission by the IGG created a doubt in their minds before calling for her acquittal.
Ms Ojangole is accused of influencing the recruitment process that culminated in her appointment as CEO of the bank, a move which the IGG said amounted to “conflict of interest”.

The CEO is said to have worked closely with one of the recruiting consultants, Mr Vincent Kaheru of Profiles International, who ended up picking her.

A court assessor is a lay person (not a lawyer) who is appointed to sit and listen to serious cases and at the end of the trial, advises court on whether to acquit or convict the suspect(s) depending on the evaluation of his/her evidence presented in court.
The court assessors’ opinion is not binding to court as the judge may differ from it. Accordingly, presiding judge Lawrence Gidudu set June 30 to deliver his judgment.

But in her defence that she gave last week, she denied ever having influenced her own recruitment before telling court that she is being “persecuted” instead of “prosecuted” by the former staff of the bank who want her out.

About the Case
The Inspector General of Governement accuses Ms Patricia Ojangole of having participated in various processes and proceedings that culminated in her appointment to the position of chief executive officer of Uganda Development Bank Ltd on November, 30, 2012, when she signed the employment contract but knowingly failed to disclose the nature of this interest to the board.

If found guilty, Ms Ojangole, who spent some nights at Luzira prison, stands to be jailed for 12 years or be fined 5,000 currency points (equivalent to Shs100 million) or both.