Thursday January 31 2013

Court sets Monday to hear Mukula’s appeal


Barely two weeks after passing its judgement, the Anti Corruption Division of the High Court, has fixed Monday to hear an appeal in which jailed former health minister, Capt. Mike Mukula is challenging his conviction.

The appeal filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Mr Ateenyi Tibaijjuka, will be heard by High Court judge David Wangutusi.

This will be the most prompt appeal to be heard in the recent past.
Most appeals are heard about two years after the judgement due to shortage of judges.

On January 18, court found Capt. Mukula guilty of embezzling Shs210 million meant for Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi).
Presiding Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa handed him a four-year sentence.

However, Capt. Mukula, who is also the Soroti Municipality MP, was dissatisfied and appealed.

The appeal
In his appeal, Capt. Mukula states that the trial chief magistrate erred in law and fact when she believed the prosecution case before hearing his case.

He further says Ms Akankwasa failed to properly evaluate the evidence adduced at the trial and thereby coming to a wrong and biased conclusion that he received and also stole the Shs210 million.

The politician also faults the trial magistrate of failing to admit that the prosecution had departed from the particulars of the offence appearing in the charge sheet.
He also claims that the magistrate erred in law in sentencing him and regarded the custodial sentence as being mandatory and did not consider the option of fine.

Following the conviction of the politician, who subscribes to the ruling NRM party, there were mixed reactions by the public.
They wondered why the court decided to only convict Mukula and yet his three co-accused including his then boss, Jim Muhwezi were let off the hook.

Capt. Mukula, a day prior to his conviction, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Monitor, said his trial was political because he had expressed interest to run for presidency once endorsed by the party.
Last weekend, Teso leaders reportedly met President Museveni to discuss the conviction of their own.

According to the sources that met the President at his up-country home in Rwakitura, the head of state said he would not twist the law to grant freedom to Mukula but pledged to foot the legal fees for him.