Anti-graft court throws out IGG evidence against Kazinda

Wednesday September 23 2020
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Former principal accountant in Office of the Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda.PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

By Juliet Kigongo


The  Anti-Corruption Court yesterday quashed final submissions of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) seeking to convict former principal accountant in Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Geoffrey Kazinda.
Kazinda is charged with illicit enrichment. The case came up in court for summing up of the assessor’s opinion as previously directed by the trial judge Margaret Tibulya on September 11. 

However, Kazinda told court that the IGG did not serve him with any submissions to warrant his response.
An assessor is a member of the public with no legal training and is provided for under criminal trial and always gives his or her unbinding opinion to court before it proceeds to deliver its final verdict.
Ruling
Responding to Kazinda’s claim, the IGG prosecutor, Ms Sarah Birungi, informed court that they had served the Assistant Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Apollo Baker Asinga, to pass on the documents to Kazinda, which he did not do.
However, Justice Tibulya, who stood over court for 10 minutes for the IGG prosecution to organise itself, asked Mr Asinga to explain why he failed to serve Kazinda as instructed, but he instead asked for more time to trace the documents which he said he had misplaced.

“This case has taken so long. It does not qualify for any adjournment and I reject the IGG’s submissions on record and allowing only those of Kazinda,” Justice Tibulya ruled.

The case was adjourned to Friday for the assessor’s opinion advising court on whether to convict or acquit Kazinda.
 The IGG alleges that Kazinda amassed wealth estimated at Shs4.6b which is not commensurate with his known income as a civil servant.

The IGG states that Kazinda’s known income between 2009 and 2012 was established to be Shs83.7m. 

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It is further alleged that Kazinda maintained a luxurious standard of living when he rented and occupied Constellation Suits at Nakasero and apartments at Sheraton Kampala Hotel for 10 months at Shs210m.

He is also accused of being in possession of a house in Bukoto city suburb and land at Kyadondo in Mengo West valued at Sh3.1b and being in possession of motor vehicles; BMW, Mercedes Benz, Dodge Saloon car, Mercedes Benz ML Class estimated at Shs769m. 

However, Kazinda denied the charges.
Last month in a majority decision of 4:1, the Constitutional Court declared that the criminal cases against Kazinda, which are based on similar facts, were null and void and ordered his release. But he has since stayed in prison because the court did not acquit him on the charges of illicit wealth.

Kazinda was first arrested on July 22, 2012 and charged on August 9, 2012 before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo. 
He was charged with abuse of office, fraudulent accounting and causing financial loss to government. 
He was also charged with 26 counts of forgery and conspiracy to commit a felony.

jkigongo@ug.nationmedia.com

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