KAMPALA- A Kampala-based lawyer Bob Kasango and a court clerk, Mr Milton Mutegeya were on Wednesday arraigned before the Anti Corruption Court and charged in connection to forgery of a judicial document in order to siphon over Shs15.4 billion pension cash.
The money in question was allegedly diverted to Marble Law Firm, owned by Mr Kasango by three jailed former Ministry of Public Service officials led by former permanent secretary Mr Jimmy Lwamafa.
The money was reportedly to cater for legal fees after another city law firm that won a pension case against government for having delayed to pay over 6,339 pensioners.
But prosecution says the diverted money was meant for pension and gratuity for the pensioners not to pay legal fees.
The other former Ministry of Public Service officials who were on Wednesday charged together with Mr Kasango are; former principle accountant in pension scheme Mr Christopher Obey and Mr Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, the former commissioner Compensation Department in the same ministry .They denied the charges.
This is the case in which Mr Kasango appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) in June last year and accused the then High Court Registrar Mr John Eudes Keitirima of soliciting for a bribe of Shs500 million from him in order to sign court documents to facilitate the payment of the legal fees in question.
Mr Keitirima is now a High Court Judge.
However, PAC led by Ms Alice Alaso, disregarded Mr Kasango’s submissions, saying they were not backed by evidence though Mr Kasango said his evidence was his word.
The pensioners’ High Court case had been handled by Mr John Matovu but he engaged Mr Kasango whom he referred to as 'Mr fixer' to get for him the award payment since he had connections in government and that he could easily have that award paid.
Mr Matovu who also appeared before PAC, explained that he had found difficulty in accessing the award for the pensioners since he had been labeled as an opposition lawyer for having represented Dr Kizza Besigye in some of his court cases. This is the reason why he turned to Mr Kasango.
Back at court, Mr Kasango and Mr Mutegeya who were responding to court’s summons issued to them last week, denied several corruption charges including theft, forgery of a judicial document and conspiracy to commit a felony before being sent to Luzira prison by presiding Grade One Magistrate Peter James Lochomin.
According to the charge sheet presented before the court and dully signed by the DPP Mike Chibita, Mr Kasango and Mr Mutegeya during the month of June 2012, forged a Judicial document (a certificate of taxation) dated June 20 2012 purporting that it was properly issued by the deputy registrar of the Civil Division of the High Court certifying that the pensioners bill of costs had been taxed and allowed at Shs7.8 billion whereas not.
Further, Mr Kasango and Mr Mutegeya are accused of conspiring to forge a judicial document (a certificate of order against the government) dated June 22, 2012 purporting that it was properly issued by the deputy registrar directing the attorney general to make a further payment of Shs3.9 billion as taxed costs in the pensioners case whereas not.
The presiding magistrate remanded Mr Kasango and the court clerk to prison until tomorrow (Thursday) at 2:30pm when their bail application will be scrutinized.
The prosecution side led by Ms Kwezira Asiimwe objected to the release of Mr Kasango on grounds that they needed more time to study the sureties presented since the money involved is colossal.
The prosecution had also cast doubt on one of Mr Kasango’s two sureties for not having produced a letter of introduction from his area LC1.
The three jailed Ministry of Public officials did not bother to apply for bail since they face other related charges in another court and have since been denied bail.