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Court of Appeal Acquits Geoffrey Kazinda

Court of Appeal has acquitted jailed former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Geoffrey Kazinda, who was in 2013 sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of office, two years for forgery by the Anti-Corruption Court.

Anti-Corruption Court Judge David Wangutusi in 2013, sentenced Kazinda to five years in prison for abuse of office, two years for forgery.

Kazinda was sentenced to another two years for unlawful possession of government stores. The sentences were to run concurrently.

He however appealed in the Court of Appeal.

While giving their ruling on Wednesday, the three judges of Court Of Appeal; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Percy Tuhaise unanimously agreed that the Anti-corruption Court wrongly convicted Kazinda.

The judges ruled that it was  wrong to convict someone basing on a security paper which was not recovered from his place but was tendered in court as a sample paper that sought transfer of funds out of the Crisis Management Account.

This was regarding the count of unlawful possession of government stores, where Kazinda was convicted on grounds that he was in possession of security papers that were produced in court as as exhibit.

According to the judges, Kazinda could not be convicted basing of possession of documents and yet he had not yet handed over office by the time of the search.

The judges also noted that the officers had no search warrant and the search certificate did not bear the SOCO’s signature when they searched Kazinda’s house and retrieved documents which were based on to convict him on the count of abuse of office.

“We set aside the judgement and orders of the trial court and order for the appellant’s immediate release unless held on other lawful charges,” the judges said.

Unfortunately by the time of his acquittal by the Court of Appeal, Kanzinda had completed the five-year jail sentence.

Even though the Court of Appeal ordered for his immediate release, Kazinda is still serving another 5-year jail sentence at Luzira Prison after a 2017 conviction by the Anti-corruption court over conspiracy to defraud government fuel worth Shs 316 million meant for vehicles carrying relief to disaster victims.

 

 

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