A marathon two-week trial has been set for the three former health ministers and a State House employee accused of embezzling about sh1.6b meant for immunisation. It will take place between July 16 and 31, with only a weekend break.
and Edward Anyoli
A marathon two-week trial has been set for the three former health ministers and a State House employee accused of embezzling about sh1.6b meant for immunisation.
It will take place between July 16 and 31, with only a weekend break, according to the Buganda Road Court Magistrate, Olive Kazaarwe.
â€œThe trial will run everyday, excluding weekends,â€ said Kazaarwe when the accused re-appeared before the court yesterday.
Inspectorate of Government prosecutor Lillian Mwandha had earlier informed the court that investigations were complete and she was ready to proceed with the case.
The suspects, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, his juniors Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha and the former private secretary in the Presidentâ€™s Office, Alice Kaboyo, all attended the court proceedings.
Muhwezi and his wife Susan arrived first at 9:00am before the court opened and sat on the front bench. Shortly after, Kamugisha joined him. By the time Mukula and Kaboyo arrived, Muhwezi and Kamugisha had already taken their stand in the dock.
Mukulaâ€™s lawyer Fred Muwema blamed his clientâ€™s delay on the traffic jam. Kaboyoâ€™s lawyer Bob Kasango gave a similar reason for her lateness.
The Police deployed heavily, blocking all the roads leading to the court premises.
Muhwezi, Mukula and Kamugisha got bail at the High Court last month.
Muhwezi faces five charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, causing financial loss and theft.
He allegedly abused his office when he illegally requisitioned sh1,071,255,000 belonging to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) between March 2004 and April 2005.
On the second charge, he allegedly caused a loss of sh774,400,000, also belonging to GAVI.
Muhwezi, together with Mukula, is also charged with requisitioning another sh263,855,000 from GAVI.
Muhwezi and Kaboyo are jointly charged with stealing sh210m, meant for health advocacy conferences for the Office of the First Lady, between February 11 and October 28, 2005. Kaboyo also faces charges of forgery.
Kamugisha, on the other hand, faces just one charge of abuse of office. He allegedly caused the loss of sh10,788,750.
After the court proceedings yesterday, the former ministers, who were all accompanied by their wives, took time to chat on the stairs. Muhwezi and Mukula later drove away in their sleek Lexus vehicles.
Former ministers' trial to take 12 days