By Anthony Wesaka
The former State Minister for Labour, Mr Herbert Kabafunzaki, who had been on the run, has since resurfaced and paid the Shs10m court fine before being discharged officially.
Last Friday, Justice Margaret Tibulya of the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala, found Mr Kabafunzaki guilty of receiving a Shs5m bribe from Aya Group chairman, Mr Mohammed Mohammed Hamid.
The bribe was in exchange for clearing Mr Hamid's name in the media of sexual harassment allegations that had been brought against him by one of his female Hilton Hotel employees.
Justice Tibulya sentenced Mr Kabafunzaki in absentia to a fine of Shs10m fine or in default, serve three years in jail.
But on Monday, the former minister resurfaced and opted to pay the Shs10m fine .
"He has paid the total of Shs10m vide general receipt dated October 11, 2021," Justice Tibulya wrote on Mr Kabafunzaki's release form.
"He is accordingly discharged and set free unless held on other charges," she added.
Mr Kabafunzaki was arrested at Kampala Serena Hotel on April 8, 2017 moments after he received the bribe.
The former minister was facing two counts of corruption. Under count one, the particulars were that Mr Kabafunzaki in performance of his duties as minister directly solicited for himself Shs15m as a gratification from Mr Hamid.
It was alleged that out of the Shs15m bribe, Shs10m was his while Shs5m was for a section of media to run favourable stories clearing his name.
Under count two, he was accused receiving a gratification of Shs5m from Mr Hamid for the same reasons.
Justice Tibulya in her analysis held that the prosecution evidence adduced in court placed the former minister at the scene of crime.
The other pieces of evidence that the judge relied on included Mr Kabafunzaki's phones which upon examination, revealed that they had used at Serena Hotel on that same day of the commission of the crime by making and receiving phone calls at about 3pm.
Another piece of evidence was the CCTV footage of Serena that captured the handing over of the bribe to the former minister.
"The above evidence squarely places the accused at the scene of the crime for purposes of committing the alleged offences, and corroborates that of prosecution witness number three that he handed over Shs5m to the accused," she said.
Justice Tibulya also banned Mr Kabafunzaki from holding public office for the next 10 years.