25 January 2013

Uganda: Captain Mike Mukula Appeals Against Jail Term

The jailed Soroti Municipality MP, Capt. Mike Mukula, has appealed against his four-year sentence and conviction.

Mukula, who was convicted last week by Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa, has filed the notice of appeal in the High Court anti-corruption division.

Mukula has subsequently applied for bail, seeking to be released pending the appeal, which is yet to be heard. Justice David Wangutusi will hear the bail application.

Mukula was found guilty of embezzling sh210m from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

The trial magistrate noted that while Mukula was state minister for health between February 2005 and October 2005, he stole sh210m from the GAVI fund account at Citibank by virtue of his office.

"The accused refunded the money on May 17, 2005. This proved that he took the money that was part of the sh263m he received. He intentionally took the money. That tantamounts to theft," Akankwasa said.

Mukula has, however, denied having embezzled the money. "I did not see the money. I did not receive the money. I did not even smell the money," Mukula said.

In his bail application, which he filed through Tibaijuka and Company Advocates, Mukula said during the trial, he diligently observed his bail conditions and his passport is still being held by the Anti-Corruption Court.

He further argued that he is married with children, some of whom are school going and he is their sole breadwinner.

Mukula said he has no intention of absconding if he is released on bail pending his appeal.

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