Thursday March 13 2014

New twist in Kazinda case as State turns against own witness

Interdicted OPM Principal Accountant Geoffrey

Interdicted OPM Principal Accountant Geoffrey Kazinda, with one of his lawyers at the anti-corruption court in Kololo. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Juliet kigongo


The trial of jailed former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Geoffrey Kazinda has taken a new twist with a prosecution witness turned into an accused person.

Ms Shamim Masembe, the proprietor and sole signatory to Total Fuel Station Ntinda accounts, who appeared on Wednesday before the Chief Magistrate’s Court at the Anti-Corruption Division Court as a prosecution witness in the fraud case against Mr Kazinda acknowledged her company supplied fuel to OPM but denied having dealt with Mr Kazinda.

Co accused with Mr Kazinda are Ms Beatrice Kezabu, an assistant resettlement officer, businessman Hussein Katumwa, and the station manager of Total Fuel Station Ntinda.

“The station manager who is also among the accused persons, Mr Katumwa, informed me that we had received a letter from OPM requesting fuels supply something that we did but we have never dealt with Mr Kazinda as a person,” Ms Masembe said during her testimony.

The prosecution, led by Mr Paul Lakidi, asked the court to amend the charge sheet after Ms Masembe as first witness had testified, asking for the issuance of criminal summons against her to answer charges of conspiring with her brother Mr Katumwa, Ms Kazabu and Mr Kazinda.

But the charges against Mr John Owor, the Commissioner for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management, were dropped. Mr Kazinda’s earlier charges of forging fuel vouchers were also dropped but new charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss of over Shs 316 million and diversion of public resources were slapped against him.

Ms Kezabu was also charged afresh with false accounting between June and July 2010. It is alleged she made false entries in the fuel invoices purporting to show that total had supplied fuel and lubricants to OPM whereas not.

However, Mr Kazinda did not take plea against the new charges after his lawyer Macdusman Kabega argued the charge sheet was defective.
The trial Chief Magistrate Ms Sarah Langa will today decide on whether Mr Kazinda should take plea or not on the new charges against him.