They were found guilty by the Anti-Corruption Court Judge Lawrence Gidudu who said they indicated that the money was civil servants’ contribution to NSSF well knowing that Government workers are not required to contribute to NSSF.
The convicts appearing in court via video conferencing.
The Court of Appeal Justices have
directed the Uganda Prison Services to allow lawyers representing four people
convicted of theft of 15.4 billion shillings
pension funds to access them in prison.
The convicts who were handed sentences
ranging from nine to 16 years by the Anti-Corruption Court Judge Margaret
Tibulya in 2018 are:
Lawyer Bob Kasango who is serving a sixteen-year
sentence, former Public Service Ministry Permanent Secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, the
former Commissioner in Charge of Compensation Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa who were all handed
a nine-year custodial sentence and Christopher Obey, the former Principal Accountant
who is serving a 14-year jail term.
They were found
guilty for conspiring to forge a court order, a certificate of taxation and a
certificate of costs directing the Attorney General to pay Kasango’s defunct
law firm Hall and Partners 15.4 billion shillings which was meant for pension
and gratuity of more than 6,340 pensioners between 2011 and 2012.
But all of them were
not happy with the entire decision of the Anti-Corruption Court and they
decided to challenge it in the Court of Appeal so that it can be quashed. The appeal was coming up for hearing today.
But a Panel of three Court of Appeal Justices led
by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire directed the Uganda Prisons Services to allow the lawyers of
the convicts to access prison to first sort out some legal and technical issues
Other Justices on the panel are Muzamir Mutangula Kibeedi and Remmy Kasule.
The order followed an application by
the lawyers of the convicts who argued that they last met with their clients in
The lawyers led by John Isabirye who
was also representing lawyer Evans Ochieng said it has been very difficult to
meet their clients in this situation of COVID-19 where inmates are not allowed
to go to court and lawyers not allowed to visit prisons.
He said they had written several letters to
the Commissioner General of prisons but there was no response to them.
Court heard that the case is of high
magnitude to their clients and it involves huge fines and sentences and that it
would be important if they met them physically by all means.
The Defense lawyers argued further
that they wanted to verify if they still had instructions to represent the
convicts. But on this, the Justices asked the convicts who were appearing via
video conferencing to confirm if those were still their lawyers and they
confirmed that it was true save for Kasango who is representing himself.
The Defense also said it's necessary
to harmonize the two appeals because Kasango had filed his alone yet the facts
are related to the ones of his co convicts.
The Chief State Attorney Moses Stanley Baine
didn't have objections to the request. He noted that the office of the DPP was also wondering how
they should respond to the appeals because Kasango had filed all the necessary
documentation for appeal on his part; but there was nothing for them to respond
to on the part of the remaining three convicts who had not filed the grounds of the appeal.
Resultantly, the Justices have also
directed that the lawyers access prisons within this week and then the convicts
file their written submissions a week after before the State responds to it.
The court ordered all the parties to return to court on November 27th 2020 to
make highlights of the appeal.
Lwamafa, Obey and Kunsa who is suffering a stroke since February
2020 the Court of Appeal confirmed their conviction in a different case of irregular
budgeting of 88.2 billion shillings during the financial years 2010/2011 and
They were found guilty by the Anti-Corruption Court Judge Lawrence
Gidudu who said they indicated that the money was civil servants’ contribution
to NSSF well knowing that Government workers are not required to contribute to
For the offences arising from this, they are now
serving sentences ranging from three to ten years after benefiting slightly
form the appeal about nine years ago.