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Basajjabalaba Out On UGX 60M Bail

After spending two nights in Luzira prison, city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba has regained his freedom after court granted him a cash bail 60 million shillings on Friday.
After spending two nights in Luzira prison, city businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba has regained his freedom after court granted him a cash bail 60 million shillings on Friday.

While granting him bail, Anti Corruption Court Chief Magistrate, Irene Akankwasa concurred with the submissions of the defense lawyers led by Kavuma Kabenge that there is no evidence that the businessman will abscond court.

 Akankwasa said the law demands the police criminal summons to be served personally on the suspect. She ruled there is no evidence to show that the police served Basajjabalaba personally, adding that it’s also not true that the accused was running away since he had been granted bail by Buganda Road Court.

She therefore released the accused but on stringent conditions including a cash bail of 60 million shillings and a non cash bail of 4 million shillings for each of his sureties.

The magistrate also ordered Basajjabalaba to deposit his passport with the court.

Similarly, court issued criminal summons for his brother, Muzamiru Basajjabalaba, who is on the run to come to court on January 28 to plead to the same charges of uttering a false document, forgery of a judicial document and conspiracy to defeat tax laws.

The state led by Lillian Omara, had on Thursday asked court not to grant bail to the businessman whom she referred to as ‘flight risk’, saying there are very high chances of him fleeing the country.

She backed her argument when she informed court that Basajjabalaba, 45, the chairman board of trustees of HABA Group of companies, was arrested by police on Tuesday evening as he attempted to flee the country. She had further argued that his previous conduct of being elusive by snubbing numerous police summons showed that he would still jump court too.

Moments after the businessman was granted bail, there was jubilation from his fans who had gathered outside the court premises. They chanted “Twagala Basajja lero, twagala Basajja lero”, loosely translated as “We want Basajja today.”

Security was tight at the court with entry being restricted. The anti riot police was stationed at the gate of the court premises commanded by Regional Operational commander for Kampala metropolitan North, Sam Omala.

Basajjabalaba is charged with uttering a false document, forgery of a judicial document and conspiracy to defeat tax laws, the same charges he was earlier on Tuesday charged with at Buganda Road Court before the DPP withdrew them on grounds that they were intended to frustrate the public prosecution.

According to the charge sheet at Anti Corruption Court, Basajjabalaba and his younger brother, Muzamiru, the director of HABA Group, between 2010 and 2011, conspired to prevent or defeat the execution or enforcement of tax laws in respect of taxes amounting to 20 million shillings. The money was arising from the compensation award by government to HABA Group after he lost the deal to manage markets in Kampala.

Further, prosecution alleges that on or about October 6 last year, Basajjabalaba forged a consent judgment purporting to have been entered into between HABA and the Attorney General agreeing that the payments of 142 billion shillings as compensation would not be subjected to any taxes, whereas the award was subjected to the tax laws.

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