What you need to know:
- Former principal accountant at OPM is challenging his conviction and sentence.
The former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Kazinda, has taken on the Ugandan government seeking to challenge several prosecutions and convictions of the Anti-corruption Court and the Court of Appeal regarding fraud-related charges.
Kazinda, who is currently at Luzira prison, filed a case by way of reference before the East African Court of Justice.
Kazinda is seeking several declarations that the actions, proceedings, and decisions of the Court of Appeal delivered in 2020 are unlawful and infringed on the fundamental and operational principles of the East African Community.
He adds that the actions of Ugandan courts infringe on good governance, adherence to the principles of democracy, rule of law, and accountability that are provided for in the EAC Treaty.
In the case against the Attorney General of Uganda, Kazinda is also asking the regional court to issue an order annulling the decisions of the Court of Appeal in Uganda and the Anti-Corruption Court.
Court documents show that the Inspector General of Government (IGG) investigated and prosecuted cases of illicit enrichment in which Kazinda was convicted before the Anti-Corruption Court and his property was also confiscated.
In March 2022, the Court of Appeal dismissed Kazinda’s appeal challenging his conviction and sentence, leading to his petition at the regional court.
The IGG also applied to be joined as a party to Kazinda’s case at the regional court.
But a five-member panel of judges dismissed with costs the application by the IGG, reasoning that the Ugandan government ombudsman is not an institution or organ of the EAC as envisaged under Article 30 and Article 9 of the community’s treaty.
Led by Principal Judge Yohane B. Masara, the court held on November 23, 2023 that the IGG has no international legal personality and therefore,cannot be held responsible for the government of Uganda’s acts or omissions under the regional Treaty.
“The actions of the applicant (IGG) can, therefore, only be challenged in this court through the Attorney General as the applicant does not personally fall within the purview of the Treaty. She cannot be joined as a respondent to any proceedings before this court and the court has no jurisdiction over her in that context,” the regional court ruled.
“The Inspectorate of Government, hereby, withdraws the notice of Appeal and its intention to proceed with any further appeal processes in the matter with immediate effect,” reads part of the IGG’s December 21,2023 notice, in response to the court ruling.
According to the notice, the Inspectorate of Government filed a notice of appeal requesting the record of proceedings, the ruling, and the order to enable the preparation of the memorandum of appeal.
These events followed a July 2020 Constitutional Court ruling, which directed the Anticorruption Court to discharge Kazinda in all cases and any future cases whose offenses are founded on facts regarding his tenure as principal accountant at OPM.
The court also prohibited the State from using any process of the court to initiate and prosecute Kazinda for any offenses similar in character or founded on the same facts whatsoever arising out of or in connection with his former employment as principal accountant in the OPM.
The court observed that Kazinda was not accorded adequate time to prepare his defence, and faced an average of one completed case per year or three recurrent trials per year.
Despite the 2020 Constitutional Court decision and orders, the Anti-Corruption Court continued with the trial in which Kazinda was convicted and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
The case awaits hearing and determination before the Court of Appeal.