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witness makes U-turn; kazinda charges amended

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Former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda . PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA  

By Juliet kigongo

Posted  Thursday, March 13   2014 at  18:50

In Summary

Ms Shamim Masembe, the proprietor and sole signatory of Total Fuel Station Ntinda, who was lined up as the first State witness, put prosecution in jeopardy when she testified contrary to her police statement, and instead ‘exonerated’ Mr Kazinda, saying her fuel station had never dealt with him

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KAMPALA.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was on Wednesday forced to amend the charge sheet in the prosecution of the former accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Godfrey Kazinda, after a State witness turned hostile, a situation that weakened the prosecution’s position.

Ms Shamim Masembe, the proprietor and sole signatory of Total Fuel Station Ntinda, who was lined up as the first State witness, put prosecution in jeopardy when she testified contrary to her police statement, and instead ‘exonerated’ Mr Kazinda, saying her fuel station had never dealt with him.

This forced the State attorney, Mr Paul Lakidi, to seek for an adjournment, so as to buy more time and issue criminal summons against Ms Masembe, which the court granted.

The State later came up with new charges against Mr Kazinda of abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss of more than Shs316 million and diversion of public resources.

Another suspect, Ms Beatrice Kezabu (the assistant resettlement officer), was also charged afresh with false accounting.
Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Ms Jane Kajuga, the public relations officer at the DPP, said they had to amend the charge sheet to include Ms Masembe as a suspect after she departed from the statement she recorded with the police.

“In many fraud cases, we find that there is a widespread collusion and we find that we have to stop and find the level of involvement,” said Ms Kajuga.

She added: “We are now re-grouping to have her charged tomorrow (today)”.
In a related development, charges against Mr John Owor, the commissioner for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management, were also dropped.