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Couple charged over sh7.5b graft scheme

By Michael Odeng

Added 2nd September 2019 10:08 AM

The accused face two counts of embezzlement, two counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and theft

Couple charged over sh7.5b graft scheme

The Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo. File Photo

The accused face two counts of embezzlement, two counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and theft

A couple is on trial at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala over money laundering after allegedly swindling sh7.5b from Western Cable Company Limited, which deals in electrical goods business activities.

It is purported that an employee of the company Juliet Asiya Namuli and her husband Robert Kimbowa conspired to steal the money. Western Cable accountant Namuli allegedly received the money in installments from the company's account and took it.

The duo did not plead to the charges before Grade One Magistrate, Moses Nabende because the magistrate's court has no jurisdiction to handle the case. The couple have five children.

"You will not take plea on the matter because it has no powers to handle this case," Nabende told the accused.

A charge sheet signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mike Chibita, shows that the accused face two counts of embezzlement, two counts of money laundering, two counts of conspiracy to commit a felony and theft.

They are battling the offences under section 19, 254, 261, 390 116 and 136 of the Anti-Corruption and Penal Code Act. They also face the charges under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

On conviction, the offence of money laundering attracts a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment, embezzlement 14 years, theft 10 years, while conspiracy to commit a felony elicits seven years.

Prosecution alleges that Namuli between January 1, 2014, and December 31, 2016, at various places in Kampala stole sh3.9b, the property of her employer, which she received and took possession of, on the account of Western Cable.

In a separate count, Kimbowa and others still at large, between August 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016, at various places in Kampala district allegedly stole sh751m, the property of the said company.

According to prosecution, the couple between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016, purportedly acquired, possessed, used and administered sh1.1b knowing or having reason to believe at the time of receipt that (the money) was a proceed of crime.

It is further alleged the duo and others still at large, between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016, at various places in Kampala, conspired to steal the company sh2.5b.

State prosecutor, Marion Acio told court investigations on the matter are still ongoing.

The accused have applied for bail before the Anti-Corruption Court head, Justice Lawrence Gidudu, who is expected to hear it on September 4, 2019.

They applied for bail through R. Mackay Advocates and M/S Credo Advocates.

In their bail application, the lawyers argue that the offences, which the applicants are battling is bailable and court has jurisdiction to grant them bail.

The applicants also say they have a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of court and substantial sureties who understand their obligation.

The couples claim that their incarceration in Prison would place the family under tremendous social, psychological and economic pressure. 

They say they are law-abiding citizens and will not abscond court. The applicants also say they do not have any criminal record.

"I will abide to the orders of court regarding bail application," Namuli vowed.

The lawyers state it is in the interest of justice that the applicants are granted bail.  

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