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Court denies bail to former public service officials

By Edward Anyoli

Added 13th January 2018 11:21 AM

While denying the accused bail, Justice Margaret Tibulya said releasing the accused under circumstances in which the trial is almost coming to a close may adversely affect its fast disposal.

Court denies bail to former public service officials

While denying the accused bail, Justice Margaret Tibulya said releasing the accused under circumstances in which the trial is almost coming to a close may adversely affect its fast disposal.

The Anti- Corruption Court in Kololo, Kampala has denied bail to three former Public Service officials in a case where they are accused of mismanaging sh15.4b meant for pension and gratuity.

The money was meant to pay 6,337 retrenched civil servants and other government officials.

While denying the accused bail, Justice Margaret Tibulya said releasing the accused under circumstances in which the trial is almost coming to a close may adversely affect its fast disposal.

"I have considered factors such as that the applicants are presumed innocent, that each of them has a fixed place of abode.

 Nonetheless, I am not convinced that the arguments for grant of bail at this stage outweigh the higher interest of having the main case expeditiously disposed of," Tibulya said.

Court also declined to grant bail to Obey and Kunsa on premise that they can still be treated from Luzira prison. The duo had sought to be freed on bail citing grave illness.

I am not convinced that the applicant (Obey's) medical condition, if it still exists cannot be managed in prison," Tibulya said.

Justice Tibulya denied Jimmy Lwamafa bail saying the reason he presented that he is of advanced age is not justifiable enough to grant him bail.

It is alleged that in 2012, sh15.4b was allegedly approved and diverted by Jimmy Lwamafa, Christopher Obey and Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa, former Permanent Secretary, Principal Accountant and commissioner pensions, respectively, yet the money was meant for payment of pensions and gratuity to 6,337 ex-civil servants.

Background

In  a separate  case, in November, 2016  Anti- Corruption Court in Kololo,Kampala  presided  over by Justice  Lawrence  Gidudu  convicted , Obey, 58, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, Lwamafa, 64, was  jailed for 7 years and Kunsa,55, was sentenced to 5 years.They were also ordered to refund sh50b each in addition to the jail terms.

They were convicted of embezzlement, causing  financial loss , conspiracy, false accounting, abuse of office  and diversion which took place in two financial years, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.

The court found that the convicts irregularly budgeted for sh88b National Social Security Fund (NSSF), an item the ministry of public service does not budget for and when the money was remitted, they diverted it for personal use and court ordered them to refund the money.

The convicts have since appealed against their conviction and sentence in Court of Appeal.The appeal is yet to be heard.  

 

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