The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Kazinda Case - Prosecution Dumps AG's Report

The High court has ordered the Luzira prison authorities to produce the interdicted Principal Accountant in the office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Geoffrey Kazinda, to court on December 10, 2012.

Kazinda is expected to take plea on charges of abuse of office and 28 counts of forgery. But surprisingly the prosecution team last week told court that it would not rely on the Auditor General's report, which unveiled the financial scandal in OPM, to prove its case.

Kazinda, already facing another set of counts before Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa, had his bail cancelled after he was committed to the High court last month. He was supposed to take plea on the new charges last Wednesday but prison warders reported that he was sick and doctors had recommended that he could not stand trial for 10 days.

"You are hereby directed to produce Kazinda Geoffrey to the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court of Uganda at Kololo Kampala on the 10th December, 2012 at 9:00 am before Hon Justice D. K. Wangutusi," read the production warrant signed on Thursday by Assistant Registrar Fred Waninda, and addressed to the Superintendent of Prisons Murchison Bay Luzira prison.

On Wednesday, Justice Wangutusi also ordered the prosecution to disclose to Kazinda's lawyers McDusman Kabega and Isaac Walukagga all the documentary evidence they intend to rely on in this case including the special Auditor General's report before their client takes plea. However, senior principal state attorney Jane Francis Abodo said prosecution would not supply the report.

"My Lord, we ourselves have not seen a copy of the Auditor General's report. We also don't intend to rely on it," said Abodo, who was assisted by state attorney Paul Lakidi. They were in court with five witnesses, including Pius Bigirimana, the OPM permanent secretary.

Bigirimana is likely to be the key prosecution witness. It was he who requested the Auditor General to make a forensic audit, whose report caused the interdiction of 17 government officials implicated in the mismanagement of Shs 50bn. In one of the counts before High court, it is alleged that Kazinda, using his position illegally, kept in his custody security papers and cash withdrawal authorization forms bearing Bigirimana's forged signature.

Bigirimana is expected to testify that he wrote to the accused several warning letters and even wrote to the Accountant General to have him transferred.

Among the documents prosecution intends to tender in court as exhibits include, cash withdraw forms, security papers, an internal memo addressed to the accused dated January 10, 2011 and a confidential letter to the Accountant General on Kazinda's unsatisfactory conduct dated January 28, 2011.

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