Lwamafa, Obey and Kunsa say that they suffer from serious illnesses that cannot be properly managed inside Luzira prison.
PIC: Christopher Obey (L) and Jimmy Lwamafa (C) at the Anti-Corruption Court on Tuesday. (Credit: Roderick Ahimbazwe)
CORRUPTION | COURT
KAMPALA - Three jailed former public service ministry officials who are battling charges in connection to embezzlement of sh15b from government have applied for bail at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala.
Jimmy Lwamafa (former permanent secretary), Christopher Obey (former principal accountant) and Steven Kiwanuka Kunsa (former director of pensions and compensations) are accused of diverting sh15b to Marble Law Firm owned by city lawyer Bob Kasango.
In their bail application, the trio who have spent close to three years in jail, argue that they suffer from serious illnesses that cannot be properly managed inside Luzira prison.
They also say that they are of advanced age and have fixed places of abode.
Another line of argument the convicts are bringing forward is that they have never skipped court whenever required.
The three were Tuesday brought to court aboard a prison bus and were straight away led into the courtroom. However, Kunsa appeared visibly unwell, prompting the judge to stop other court matters in order to have their case disposed of.
Through his lawyers, Kunsa complained of ulcers during the mention of the case and asked the magistrate to allow him take breakfast before the case resumes.
Meanwhile, High Court judge Margret Tibulya set August 9 as the date for hearing of their bail application before hearing of the case begins next month.
This is the fourth time the trio have applied for bail.
Last week, the head of the Court of Appeal, also the Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, granted the trio bail after failing to secure it on three occasions.
But the three ex-officials were still remanded to Luzira, pending determination of their sh15b case at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala before Justice Margrate Tibulya.
In their appeal, they are challenging their conviction and jail terms handed to them by High Court Judge Lawrence Gidudu.
Lwamafa was sentenced to seven years, Kunsa five years while Obey ten years. Gidudu also ordered them to jointly refund sh50m to the Government.
Prosecution alleges that in 2012, sh15.4b was paid to city lawyer Bob Kasango's law firm as legal fees by Lwamafa, Obey and Kunsa yet the money was meant for payment of pensions and gratuity of 6,339 ex-civil service workers.
Kasango is battling the charges together with interdicted court clerk Milton Mutegeya over his involvement in the case. Kasango did not appear in court.