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Assessor wants Kazinda acquited in sh316m fraud case

By Edward Anyoli

Added 3rd April 2017 09:29 AM

Prosecution alleges that the former principal accountant made an unauthorized payment vouchers of sh316m to Total Ntinda 1 Fuel Station

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Prosecution alleges that the former principal accountant made an unauthorized payment vouchers of sh316m to Total Ntinda 1 Fuel Station

A court assessor has asked court to acquit Geoffrey Kazinda, former principal accountant in the office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

While giving his opinion before Justice Lawrence Gidudu of the Anti- Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala, Ferrer Okech asked court to set Kazinda free.

Okech said Kazinda and Hussein Katumwa station manager of Total Service station Ntinda1 should be acquitted because prosecution failed to prove the case.

Okech however, advised court to convict former assistant resettlement officer in OPM Beatrice Kezabu and businesswoman Shamim Masembe.

“I believe that prosecution has proved its case regarding all the five counts against Kezabu and Masembe leaving reasonable doubt on Kazinda and Katumwa,”Okech said.

The assessor explained that he did not believe Kazinda and Katumwa stole sh316m as alleged by the prosecution. He said they could have been misled about the fraud.

Okech gave his opinion a week after Justice Gidudu summed up the case for him. Gidudu advised him to critically look at both prosecution and the defence case.

Okech said there is evidence that Kezabu and Shamim conspired to steal sh316m by presenting forged fuel vouchers for non-existing vehicles to OPM.

Prosecution said that Kazinda made an unauthorized payment vouchers of sh316m to Total Ntinda 1 Fuel Station owned by Masembe and managed Katumwa.

That Kezabu then made fictitious accountability for the fuel by allegedly forging fuel authorisation forms (orders forms) which was then forwarded to  Kazinda for payment.

Other cases against Kazinda

Kazinda, is facing other charges of illicit enrichment before Justice Margaret Tibulya of the Anti- Corruption Court over sh4.6b

It is alleged by the inspectorate of Government (IGG) that Kazinda, 46, amassed wealth estimated at sh4.6b which was not commensurate with his known income as the then civil servant.

Kazinda is currently in Luzira Prison after he was convicted by the Anti-Corruption Court of abuse of office, forgery and making documents without authority in 2013. He was also convicted of unlawful possession of government stores and sentenced to five years in jail.

According to the IGG, Kazinda’s known income for the period between 2009 and 2012 was established to be sh83.7m.

Prosecution led by director of legal affairs Sarah Birungi from IGG, said Kazinda maintained a luxurious standard of living when he rented and occupied Constellation Suites in Nakasero and apartments at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala for a period of ten months at sh210m.

Kazinda is also accused by the IGG of being in possession of a house in Bukoto a city suburb and land situated at Kyadondo Mengo West, Volume 213, Folio 21, plot 2132 valued at sh3.1b.

In the third charge, Kazinda is accused of being in possession of motor vehicles BMW, Mercedes Benz, Dodge Saloon car, Mercedes Benz ML Class estimated at sh769m. He denied the charge.

In a separate case which is ongoing before Justice Tibulya of Anti- Corruption High Court, Kazinda is charged jointly with three former officials from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development over diverting public funds to the tune of sh20b.

Wilbert Okello a principal system analyst, David Mugisha a senior economist and Bright Atwine a senior accountant were charged with diverting funds intended for the Peace Recovery and Development plan for Northern Uganda.

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