The Court of Appeal has today rejected the request to release on bail the jailed former local government permanent secretary, John Muhanguzi Kashaka pending the hearing and disposal of his appeal. Kashaka appealed to court challenging his ten year and ten days jail term handed to him for his role in the bungled purchase of 70,000 bicycles that were meant for LC1 and parish chairpersons ahead of 2011 general elections.
While rejecting Kashaka’s bail application, presiding single judge Solomy Balungi Bossa held that all the grounds including ill health and advanced age of 60years raised by Mr Kashaka, did not constitute exceptional circumstances as required by the Trial and Indictment Act to warrant his release on bail.
The judge explained that Kashaka is now a convict of a serious crime and that this requires court to balance his rights and the interests of the wider publicin order to think of releasing him on bail.
Justice Balungi further held that Kashaka’s right of innocence no longer exists and that in order for court to release him on bail, he has to show exceptional circumstances.
Commenting on the ill health of being a patient of chronic Hepatisis B disease, the judge said, “Yes there is a medical report from Luzira confirming his illness but the same medical report is silent on whether Luzira has no capacity to treat and manage it.”
The Anti Corruption Court on July 17, this year sentenced Mr Kashaka to ten years and ten days in prison after he was found guilty of causing government a financial loss of 4.2 billion in a botched procurement of 70,000 bicycles meant for LC1 and parish chairpersons for their activities ahead of the 2011 general elections.
Besides being banned to work in the public office for the next ten years, Kashaka was ordered to refund a sixth of Shs4.2 billion lost in the bungled procurement.
But being dissatisfied with both the conviction and sentence, he appealed against the same and also unsuccessfully applied to be released on bail pending the hearing of the appeal.
Court Appeal also stayed the execution of Anti Corruption Court orders to have Kashaka refund a-sixth of the of Shs4.2 billion(about 700 million) that was lost in the bungled procurement of the 70.000 bicycles until his appeal is heard and determined.
The same court declined to release on bail three of Kashaka’s co-convicts; Henry Bamutura, Robert Mwebaze and Sam Emorut Erongot mainly on the same grounds of not discharging their burden of having exceptional circumstances.
However, court stayed the execution of the Anti Corruption Court orders of each refunding a sixth of the Shs4.2 billion that was lost until their appeals challenging their various sentences are heard and determined.
Further, the same court released on bail two of Kashaka’s convicts, Mr Timothy Musherure and Adam Bond Alum.
While releasing the duo, justice Balungi held that they could end up serving their respective short sentences of 20 months, one month and nine months before their appeal is heard which move the judge said could lead to a miscarriage of justice.
The judge released the duo on condition that they deposit in court Shs20 million, obtain a 50,000 US Dollar bank security which shall be deposited in court and renewed after every six months.