22 January 2013

Uganda: Kazinda Derailing Own Prosecution - State

The Attorney General has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss Geoffrey Kazinda's petition in which he is seeking to halt his trial.

State Attorney Margaret Nabakooza told court on Monday that Kazinda was deliberately derailing his own prosecution by filing frivolous petition.

Nabakooza said Kazinda the interdicted principal accountant in the Prime Minister's Office has not shown that by refusing to halt his trial he is likely to suffer damages.

"The applicant has not shown that by refusal to grant him remedies he will suffer irreparable damage," Nabakooza said.

Kazinda petitioned the Constitutional Court saying he is being selectively prosecuted. He further argued that section11 of the Anti- Corruption Act under which he is charged with abuse of office, is in contravention with article 28 of Constitution.

Kazinda also wants court to release him from prison unconditionally saying he was previously granted bail by the Anti- Corruption Court.

Nabakooza further argued that there is no sufficient reasons advanced by Kazinda to have his trial halted saying it is not a proper case for grant of the order sought.

Appearing before Justices Steven Kavuma, Remmy Kasule and Augustine Nshimye of the Constitutional Court , Ambrose Tebyasa and Godfrey Ojok Odur lawyers representing Kazinda, said the state was applying selective prosecution against Kazinda.

The lawyers argued that Kazinda was being charged with duplicated offences arising from the same facts.

Kazinda was charged with forgery and abuse of office.

On count of abuse of office, prosecution alleged that Kazinda while employed as the Principal accountant in the Prime Minister's office did an arbitrary act when he kept in a private residence computer generated letters and cash withdrawal authorization forms bearing forged signature of Pius Bigirimana , the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's office.

It is also alleged that, Kazinda between January2012 and July2012 with intent to deceive Kazinda forged the signature of Bigirimana claiming that it was signed by him.

Prosecution further alleged that Kazinda with intent to defraud or deceive made computer generated letters, serial number 243607 on account of Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary office of the Prime Minister dated February10,2011 addressed to the director banking, Bank of Uganda purporting that it was signed by Bigirimana. Fifteen witnesses have been lined up to testify.

In a separate charge which is yet to start on January28, Kazinda and his co- accused Martin Owor commissioner for relief disaster preparedness in prime minister's office, Beatrice Kezabu assistant resettlement officer and Hussein Katumwa station manager of Total Ntinda I Service Station were charged with embezzlement, false accounting and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Prosecution said Kazinda, Owor, and Kezabu being employed in the Prime Minister's office abused their offices when they allegedly misappropriated sh316, 893,456 meant for procurement of fuel and lubricant for motor vehicles. The vehicles were meant to deliver relief food from central relief stores to disaster victims in various part of the country.

The suspects allegedly conspired to steal money for fuel. Prosecution said the three accused persons conspired with Katumwa, a fuel manager of total Ntinda 1 Service Station to steal. They denied the charges.

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