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Court upholds conviction against bank manager over theft

By Michael Odeng

Added 3rd July 2020 11:27 PM

Court upholds conviction against bank manager over theft

JUSTICE |

The Court of Appeal has upheld a 30 months' imprisonment sentence against the former Jinja Branch Manager of Equity bank, who was convicted for embezzling sh101m.

Juanita Igamu had appealed against the conviction and sentence that was passed by Justice Paul Mugamba, the former Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court head, in 2013.

The court found Igamu guilty of causing financial loss to the bank in May 2011 and directed her to refund the money upon release.

It was a victory for the prosecution, which maintained that Igamu stole money from the bank before disappearing from work for three days, claiming to be ill.

She complained that the judge did not evaluate the evidence properly. But a panel of three justices led by Geoffrey Kiryabwire said although there was no evidence that showed Igamu had stolen the money, she caused financial loss because of the various acts she did. Other justices are Stephen Musota and Percy Tuhaise.

Court heard that Igamu as the bank's manager had custody of one of the keys to the safe and that after the theft, she informed her juniors that she would take care of the loss, as it was part of the bank's reserves.

In an unsworn testimony, Igamu had told the court that she was sick and admitted to International Hospital Kampala but she failed to produce any evidence of admission or discharge.

"Having found that all the grounds of the appeal fail, this appeal is hereby dismissed. We uphold the sentence of the high court," Kiryabwire ruled.

According to the justices, the sentence imposed was not an injustice to Igamu because the offence, according to Section 20 of the Anti-Corruption Court Act, attracts a sentence not exceeding 14 years, on conviction.

"We find the sentence imposed on Igamu was not excessive and was within the confines of the law," Kiryabwire noted.  

Prosecution states that between May 21, and 25, 2011 there was an audit carried out at the Jinja Branch, which discovered a shortage of sh101m.

According to court documents, investigations were conducted and it was discovered that on May 21, 2011, Igamu without authority took the money in denominations of sh50, 000 and then concealed the shortage in sh500 coins for purposes of doing business then she pays it back later.

After investigations, Igamu was arrested and charged with embezzlement and an alternative count of causing a financial loss for which she was convicted.

Igamu was represented by MacDosman Kabega while the state by Senior State Attorney Adrine Asingwire.

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