By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: On November 6, 2020, the Anti-Corruption court sentenced Geoffrey Kazinda, the former principal accountant in the Office of Prime Minister to 15-years behind bars after being found guilty of three counts of forgery, accumulation of abnormal wealth (illicit enrichment) and financial loss, instituted against him by the Inspectorate of Government in 2016.
According to court, the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) found out that between 2009 and 2012, Kazinda was enjoying a standard of living way above his known sources of income, possessing and wealth amounting to over shs4.6 billion.
“The investigations revealed that Kazinda had rented constellation suites in Nakasero for ten months at a cost of shs210 million, had three plots of land in Bukoto valued at shs3.6 billion, owned high-end cars including a BMW, Mercedes Benz ML class, Dodge Saloon all valued at shs769 million,” Justice Margret Tibulya revealed.
Meanwhile, according to prosecution, the above wealth was far above his known and declared annual income of shs84 million per year, thus raising a red flag on how he acquired them. On cross-examination, the presiding justice found out that Kazinda had concealed the properties when he registered them under the names of different persons.
It was also revealed that Kazinda had transferred three land titles for pieces of land situated in Bukoto to an educational organization, Brothers of Christian Instruction as a donation. However, the court found out that he remained in full control of the pieces of land in question.
However, in his defence, Kazinda denied owning any of the said properties but argued that he lived such a high standard lifestyle given the fact that his family had a wealthy background and that they had received huge sums of money when they sold off some of the properties including part of the land that currently hosts Entebbe airport.
In addition, Kazinda argued that he had also worked tirelessly for 18 years before he joined the public service hence his wealth which shocked justice Tibulya, wondering why he didn’t declare all his sources of income to the Inspectorate of Government as required by the law leaving her in the doubt mode.
After Kazinda failed to convince the justice, the prosecution led by Sarah Birungi called for a stronger sentence and confiscation of three plots of land in Bukoto aiming to teach other public officers a lesson that corruption is bad.
Then after, the justice didn’t hesitate to sentence Kazinda to five years imprisonment on each count adding that the sentences should be served consecutively, making 15 yrs in jail.
She said, “This means he will serve 15 years (starting from the date of judgement). I also order for confiscation of the said properties; the court cannot allow him to enjoy fruits obtained from a crime. Allowing them to retain proceeds of their crime would be unfair. At such a time when the country is struggling to pay debts over such people.”
Before this development, Kazinda had faced trial for constructive possession of financial instruments, forging receipts and invoices, false accounting, making fraudulent payments, conspiracy to secure money outside authorized disbursement procedures which trials started in 2012, in various courts.