By Spy Uganda
It’s a moment of relief for the former principal accountant at the Office of Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda after the Court of Appeal reduced his 15-year jail term to 7yrs and seven months.
In 2020, Anti-Corruption Court’s Justice Margret Tibulya sentenced Kazinda 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.
However, the court comprised of justices Fredrick Egonda Ntende, Christopher Madrama and Catherine Bamugemereire revised and reduced the above on grounds that Tibulya misdirected herself in law by taking into consideration Kazinda’s lack of remorse as an aggravating factor when sentencing him.
Judges also revealed that Tibulya gave Kazinda a maximum punishment while sentencing him on each of three distinct charges which discredited the fact that he was a first time offender.
Kazinda has been in Luzira prison since 2013 when he was first convicted of unlawfully possessing government stores and sentenced to five years and despite finishing the said sentence he was held in prison due to pending charges that continue to be brought against him by the state in pieces.
Back Ground Of This Matter
According to court documents, 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,” Court documents read in part.
According to the 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, in the first trial, Court 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.
Meanwhile, in 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 but the court faulted him for not declaring all his sources of income to the Inspectorate of Government as required by the law a fault that threw him into jail.
Handing him a 15yr jail sentence to Kazinda, Justice Tibulya noted, “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 the proceeds of their crime would be unfair. At such a time when the country is struggling to pay debts over such people.”