National
Another OPM official pinned over sh316m
Publish Date: Apr 17, 2014
Another OPM official pinned over sh316m
Geoffrey Kazinda (in suit) has been the face of the OPM scandal since it broke in 2012
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By Edward Anyoli  

The former assistant resettlement officer in prime minister’s office signed fuel authorisation forms that resulted into loss of sh316m, court heard Wednesday.

Hassan Wasswa , a driver in  the prime minister’s office told  court that Beatrice  Kezabu signed  several  fuel authorisation  forms  to draw fuel from  Total Ntinda service station.

Testifying as the first prosecution witness against Geoffrey Kazinda ,the former principal accountant in prime minister’s office, Kezabu  an assistant resettlement  officer, Shamim Masembe, the proprietor of Total Ntinda service station and Hussein Katumwa the manager, Wasswa identified several fuel authorisation forms allegedly signed by Kezabu.

The accused  are  charged  with  conspiracy  to steal sh316, 893,456  meant for fuel from the prime minister’s  office.

Wasswa told Anti- Corruption Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Sarah Langa Siu that the second purported signature that appeared on several authorisation forms was not his.

Wasswa told court that the fuel authorization forms were purportedly signed to show that he had drawn fuel from Total service station.

During cross- examination  by Kezabu and  Kazinda’s  lawyers  McDosman  Kabega and   Precious Ngabirano , Wasswa  said  he could  not tell how much fuel was drawn from Total Ntinda service  station.

Wasswa said he gave all the invoices to Kezabu as soon as he got them from Total service station.

Prosecution led by state attorneys Paul Lakidi  and David  Bisamunyu said Masembe, Kezabu and Katumwa between 2010 and 2011 in Kampala conspired to commit a felony to steal sh316m. They denied the charge.

The other accused is the former principal accountant Kazinda (OPM) who is charged with abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss and fraudulent false accounting. He denied the charges.

Prosecution said Kazinda and Kezabu being employed in the Prime Minister’s office abused their offices when they allegedly misappropriated sh316m.

The vehicles were meant to deliver relief food from central relief stores to disaster victims in various part of the country.

Prosecution also said the two accused persons conspired with Katumwa, a fuel manager of Total Ntinda1 Service Station to steal.

At the start of the trial, the lawyers representing the accused opposed Martin Owor to testify as a prosecution because   he is the former co- accused.

The lawyers argued that Owor was privy to some confidential information from the defence team before charges were withdrawn against him.
 

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