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Court Martial jails Kazini for 3 years

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th March 2008 03:00 AM

FORMER army chief Maj. Gen. James Kazini was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for causing financial loss to the Government. However, the court found him not guilty of creating ghost soldiers on the army payroll, forgery and of uttering false documents.

FORMER army chief Maj. Gen. James Kazini was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for causing financial loss to the Government. However, the court found him not guilty of creating ghost soldiers on the army payroll, forgery and of uttering false documents.

By Anne Mugisa
and Charles Ariko

FORMER army chief Maj. Gen. James Kazini was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison for causing financial loss to the Government. However, the court found him not guilty of creating ghost soldiers on the army payroll, forgery and of uttering false documents.

Trial Proceedings

Heavily armed Military Police sealed off the Court Martial as Kazini, Lt. Col. Dura Mawa Muhindo and Capt. Michael Baryaguma were convicted over the loss of sh61m belonging to the 507th Brigade, which was based in the Congo. His lawyers said they would appeal the ruling.

Kazini’s aide de camp Lt. Kenneth Ayebare walked away free after the court declared him innocent.

“The court has heard and considered the antecedents and the mitigating factors in the case and has sentenced you to three years imprisonment,” chairman Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta said.

Kazini and company had been charged with abuse of office, forgery, uttering false documents and causing financial loss.

The soldiers were charged in January 2004 over loss of sh61,746,800, which Col. Mawa withdrew from the army’s bank account in the Kasese branch of the defunct Uganda Commercial Bank to pay salaries. The accused, according to the State, inflated the payroll by 440 “ghost” soldiers.

The four-year trial, which started under, Lt. Gen. Elly Tumwine, was conducted in camera. The soldiers entered the dock and saluted the nine-man panel before taking seats. As they listened to Koreta read out the verdict, their faces betrayed no emotion.

Mawa and Baryaguma were found guilty on all four counts. For the first count of abuse of office, Mawa and Baryaguma were sentenced to two years imprisonment each.

They were also sentenced to one-year imprisonment for forgery and one year for uttering false documents. The accused, according to Koreta, will serve the sentences concurrently.

Koreta said the State failed to prove that Kazini and his aide Ayebare created the “ghost soldiers”.

“This court hereby acquits A1 (Kazini) and A4 (Ayebare) of the offence accordingly.”

The court also found no evidence that Kazini and Ayebare forged or uttered false documents.

After announcing the guilty verdict, the court adjourned for about 30 minutes at the end of which it passed the punishment.

Heavily armed military men, who took over the court premises and braved the heavy rain, escorted Kazini to Luzira Prison.

Trial Proceedings

Court Martial jails Kazini for 3 years

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