• Oct 12, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • Kazinda’s accomplice guilty over sh21b loss

Okello (centre) interacting with his lawyers, Alexander Kafeero (left) and Boniface Ngaruye Ruhindi after the ruling at the AntiCorruption court in Kololo
Edward Anyoli
Journalist @New Vision

The principal system analyst who aided former principal accountant in the Office of Prime Minister (OPM), Geoffrey Kazinda, to steal sh21b, has been convicted and ordered to pay a fine of sh18m to the Government.

Wilbert Okello, formerly from the finance ministry, was found guilty of abuse of office and conspiring with Kazinda to steal sh21b from the OPM.

Justice Margaret Tibulya of the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala said prosecution, led by Vincent Wagona, formerly from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), proved beyond doubt that Okello conspired with Kazinda to steal sh21b.

 

KAZINDA CONVICTED

Kazinda was last month convicted and sentenced to 25 years in jail after being found guilty of 420 offences in connection to conspiracy, forgery, abuse of office and causing financial loss to Government.

Court further ordered Kazinda to refund sh19.2b to government. He has also been barred from holding public office for a period of 10 years.

 

THE RULING

Court heard that Okello, a database administrator in the finance ministry, was found to have irregularly assigned invoice approval rights to Kazinda, which prosecution said led to sh20b loss.

“I have considered all that has been said by both parties. There can be no doubt that the offences with which the accused was charged and convicted are serious, being that they led to loss of a colossal sum of money to the Government.

“The accused abused the trust the Government put in him being that he had access to the government financial system which privilege he abused,” Tibulya said in her ruling on Friday.

She said she was convinced by prosecution evidence which revealed that irregular responsibility to fraudulently pay sh20b was assigned to Kazinda, and subsequently money was approved without authorisation, leading to loss.

Court heard that the electronic funds transfer was never authorised by the Accountant General, contrary to the guidelines.

 

MONEY TRANSFER

Prosecution said the fraud originated from treasury and was sent from Uganda Computer Services and upon review, it indicated that Okello had logged on as the user, an act that prosecution said was committed to steal.

Prosecution said part of the money that was meant for support of the Peace Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda was received on July 27, 2011 and was fraudulently transferred on December1 2011 to the crisis management account and recovery programme in OPM to Bank of Uganda by way of electronic transfer.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions Josephine Namatovu asked court to impose a stringent sentence, saying the amount involved was colossal. She said the stringent sentence would deter other would-be offenders.

Okello’s lawyer, Alexandra Kafeero from Okecha Baranyanga and Company Advocates, asked court to impose a lenient sentence, saying his client has been attending court for the last 10 years without absconding.

Kafeero said Okello was misled by his bosses from the finance ministry.

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