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Ghost Pilot: UPDF Human resource manager challenges trial

By Barbra Kabahumuza, Michael Odeng

Added 15th April 2018 06:26 PM

Kyakabale contends that she was maliciously charged with an offence which was committed in Air-force in 2005, yet she was employed in 2008.

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Kyakabale contends that she was maliciously charged with an offence which was committed in Air-force in 2005, yet she was employed in 2008.

FRAUD

KAMPALA - The former UPDF resource manager accused of causing financial loss of sh2b by placing a Russian ‘ghost pilot’ on the payroll has petitioned court, seeking to challenge her trial at the army court. 
 
Through Ojok Advocates, Carolyn Kyakabale, 37, says her trial at the General Court Martial (GCM) for a non-service offence violates her right to a fair hearing because she is a civilian.
 
“My trial on frivolous and vexatious charge violates my right to a fair hearing and continued prosecution for the said offences tantamounts to malicious prosecution,” she argues.
 
Kyakabale, the former manager in-charge of civilian personnel in UPDF Air Forces is battling charges of fraud alongside Maj. Kapalaga Lubega, 60 and his wife Evas Lubega Twinomujuni, 49.
 
Lubega is a former UPDF officer attached to Air-force under the directorate of medical services.
 
They were charged under section 176 (g) of the UPDF Act, 2005. A person who commits fraud is on conviction, liable to imprisonment not exceeding seven years.  
 
Prosecution led by Maj. Raphael Mugisha alleges that the accused between the months of October 2015 and January 2016 caused the ministry of defence to enter into an employment contract with Valerie Ketrisk, a Russian non-existing pilot.
 
It further alleges that the trio in the same period fraudulently received money paid through Barclays Bank Account No. 5800134562 totaling to sh2b, a purported salary for Ketrisk.
 
Therefore, Kyakabale wants court to declare that the acts of officers at UPDF of paying her half salary without being interdicted, violates her employment rights.

She also wants damages for the stress and inconvenience caused for wrongful detention and malicious prosecution.
 
According to court documents, Kyakabale was arrested and detained at Kireka Special Investigations division and produced at the GCM with two other persons on March 24, 2017.
 
Kyakabale contends that she was maliciously charged with an offence which was committed in Air-force in 2005, yet she was employed in 2008.
 
“My trial for offences committed in a department at the time when I had not started work renders the offences frivolous and prosecution for the said offences malicious,” she argues.
 
Kyakabale says prosecution’s refusal to provide her lawyers with a copy of the contract, which she is alleged to have created or renewed from 2005 to 2012, violates her right to a fair hearing.

Background

The saga came into light in June 2016, when an investigation team commissioned by the former Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala reported that the said ‘ghost’ was paid $618,000 (about sh2.07b) in monthly salaries for a period of 11 years.
 
The investigating team led by Maj. Martin Nsengiyunva, from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), discovered that Ketrisk, who was purportedly an instructor of the Mi17 and Mi24 helicopter gunships did not exist.
 
This was triggered by inconsistent reports in regard to gross mismanagement of resources in the Air-force by several military officers and civilian employees attached to the Ministry of Defence.     

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