The Anti-corruption court has lost its patience and dismissed the case against four Ministry of Public Service Officials.
The court’s Chief Magistrate Sara Langa dismissed the case after the lawyers representing the accused told her that the state seems to be unwilling to prosecute the accused.
“The patience of this court has been tested and it cannot hold it any more. It is unfortunate that prosecution has failed to commence trial in this case for more than two years for one reason or the other, but justice delayed is justice denied,” Langa stated.
The lawyers for the accused led by John Isabirye and Evans Ochieng told court that for the last two years, prosecution had made it a habit to just come to court and seek for an adjournment without showing any seriousness on the case.
This was after the prosecutor Jane Frances Abodo had requested the magistrate to grant them a two weeks adjournment to enable them reorganize.
She said the demise of Senior Principle State Attorney Joan Kagezi who was shot dead on March 30, 2015 had slowed down their evidence assessment.
The Chief Magistrate however did not agree.
“This case was registered in this court in January 2013 and for all this time, no single witness has ever come to this court to testify against these accused persons who are alleged to have stolen colossal sums of money to be expeditiously tried and their fate determined. This specialized court was set up to dispose off corruption cases expeditiously, but for the last two years, this court has adjourned and adjourned this case and it has now become a ceremony as stated by Counsel John Nsabirye. This case is dismissed for want of prosecution,” she said.
Langa did not however free their Bank accounts because it was not her court that ordered their freezing.
The accused were; former Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, former Permanent Secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, former Director for Research and Development Steven Kunsa Kiwanuka, former senior Accounts Assistant David Japins Oloka, former information system analyst Francis Lubega and former account assistant Steven Lwanga.
They were facing charges of embezzlement, neglect of duty, theft and conspiracy to defraud government of Uganda her Shs165bn.
They were accused together Peter Ssajjabi the Secretary East African Community Beneficiaries Association), Ishaka Sentongo Assistant Manager Operations Cairo Bank and Rahmah Nakigozi Mugeere Compliance Officer, Cairo Bank.
After they were charged, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) amended the charge sheet to include Cairo International Bank and its Managing Director Operation Tareq Mohammed.
This forced the Bank and Tareq to petition the High Court Civil Division claiming they were being condemned unheard since none of the directors of the Directors of the Bank had been called to make a statement at police and they had not been told who was complaining against them.
They also reasoned that the Director Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate Grace Akullo had issued a final report exonerating them as opposed to the preliminary one on which the DPP had based to on charge them.
Justice Benjamin Kabiito first issued an interim order stopping them from taking plea (being charged) at the Anticorruption court and later quashed the charges against them.