By Edward Anyoli
A key prosecution witness in a Geoffrey Kazinda case has been turned into a suspect over the loss of sh316m in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Shamim Masembe, who is a proprietor with Total Ntinda 1 Service Station, earlier on Tuesday, had testified that the sh223m she withdrew from DFCU bank belonged to Total Ntinda Service Station.
She told the Anti-Corruption Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Sarah Langa Siu that she withdrew the money to buy supplies for her fuel station.
“I confirm it is a bank statement and the transactions dated June23, 2010 show a withdrawal of sh223m. I made the withdrawal and the purpose was for buying supplies for my station,” said the witness.
The prosecution team led by Paul Lakidi at this stage applied for an adjournment and hours later returned to court with a charge sheet showing Masembe as an accused.
Masembe, who was summoned to appear in court on March14, will be charged with conspiracy to commit a felony.
It is alleged that Masembe and Beatrice Kezaabu (an assistant resettlement officer), between the year 2010 and 2011in Kampala, conspired to commit a felony to steal sh316m from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The other co-accused is Hussein Katumwa, station manager of Total Ntinda I Service Station.
According to a source who declined to be named, Masembe’s testimony grossly contradicts with her statement that she recorded with the police.
The Director of Public Prosecution has also withdrawn charges against Martin Owor, a former commissioner for relief disaster preparedness in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Kazinda is jointly facing charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, false accounting, forgery and conspiracy to commit a felony with two other people.
Prosecution said Kazinda and Kezabu, being employed in the Prime Minister’s office, abused their offices when they allegedly misappropriated about sh316m (sh316, 893,456 precisely) 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 parts of the country.
The accused allegedly conspired to steal money for fuel.
Prosecution also said the two accused persons conspired with Katumwa, a fuel manager of total Ntinda1 Service Station to steal.