March 14, 2013

Court Reinstates Basajjabalaba’s Bail

Hassan Basajjabalaba
Hassan Basajjabalaba

The Anti-Corruption Court on Wednesday reinstated the cancelled Shs60 million bail of  embattled city tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba exactly a week after he was sent to Luzira prison.

A week ago, Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa cancelled Mr Basajjabalaba’s Shs60 million bail before remanding him to Luzira prison upon committing him to High Court to stand trial over forgery charges.

The magistrate while cancelling Basajjabalaba’s bail noted that there were exceptional circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr Basajjabalaba who is jointly charged along with his younger brother Muzamiru Basajjabalaba, stand accused of forging a consent judgment leading to the payment of Shs142 billion to HABA group.

The reinstatement also means that his brother Muzamiru will not pay a penny on top of Shs40 million earlier paid.

While reinstating the bail for the businessmen, High Court judge Catherine Bamugemereire faulted Ms Magistrate Akankwasa for having cancelled the bail of the duo under the pretext of exceptional circumstances.

The judge noted that if the magistrate felt there exceptional circumstances surrounding this case, it should have been the state to raise such issues with the defense lawyers replying before such a decision could be taken.

The judge also asked Mr Basajjabalaba alone to deposit with court a land title registered in his names and with no disputes.

Court further ordered the businessmen to report to the CID headquarters once every two weeks.
They face charges of uttering false documents, forgery of a judicial document and conspiracy to defeat tax laws.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Basajjabalaba and his younger brother, Muzamiru, between 2010 and 2011, conspired to prevent or defeat the execution or enforcement of tax laws in respect of taxes amounting toShs20 billion.

The Shs20 billion were taxes to be paid by the businessman out of the Shs142 billion compensation award he had received from government.

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