July 9, 2013

DPP Absence Halts Kazinda Trial

The absence of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has today forced the Anti Corruption Court to temporarily halt the second trial of Geoffrey Kazinda.

Kazinda was sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of office
Kazinda was sentenced to five years in prison for abuse of office

The trial of Kazinda, the former Principal Accountant in the Office of Prime Minister (OPM), who was jailed last month for abuse of office, was scheduled to start today.

When the matter came up today before Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa, Principal State Attorney Jane Frances Abodo informed court that they have an amended charge sheet but has not been consented to by the DPP since the office is vacant.

Currently, the country is without a DPP and the deputy following the recent appointment of Richard Buteera and his deputy, Damalie Lwanga, as Court of Appeal and High Court judges respectively.

Abodo told the Magistrate that section 49 of the Anti Corruption Act demands that only the DPP is to consent to the charges and can’t delegate.

Under Article 120 of the Constitution, the DPP’s functions among others are; to sanction new charges and withdraw the old ones.

Given this deadlock, Kazinda’s lawyer, Anthony Wameli, asked court to discontinue the charges against his client until such a time when the prosecution puts its house in order by appointing a new DPP.

But his request was disregarded as the magistrate instead gave a long adjournment of up to August 7 when the matter comes back to court.

In this particular case, Kazinda who is currently serving a five year jail term in Luzira, is charged along with three others for false accountability for 316 million shillings for financial year 2010/11. He is accused of allegedly creating several false fuel receipts under the pretext that fuel had been drawn whereas not.

His co-accused who are out on bail include John Owor, Commissioner for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management, Beatrice Kezabu, an Assistant Resettlement Officer, both staff of OPM and businessman Hussein Katumwa, a station manager of Total Fuel Station, Ntinda.

They all deny the charges.

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