Jailbird former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Geoffrey Kazinda, Geoffrey Kazinda has won an appeal in which he challenged his conviction and sentence by the Anti –Corruption court in 2013.
Kazinda was 2013 convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment for abuse of office, two years for forgery and two years for unlawful possession of government stores by Justice David Wangutsi.
He would later appeal against the conviction and subsequent sentence but in October last year, he completed his five year term in jail.
However, on Tuesday, a panel of three justices of the Court of Appeal including Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Percy Tuhaise ruled that the lower court was wrong to convict him of the offence of abuse of office basing on a personal letter written to Kazinda recovered from his house.
“This finding in our view was an error on the part of the learned judge because the said photograph (containing Kazinda’s personal letter) was a close range of documents recovered from Kazinda’s house not Teopista Nanfuka’s house yet exhibits from which the charge against the appellant(Kazinda) were allegedly recovered from Nanfuka’s house. In essence, the photograph of the personal letter was not of Lubuulwa’s room,”the judges ruled.
The three justices of the Court of Appeal also ruled that evidence by the prosecution had contradictions that could not be ignored in proving the offence of abuse of office adding that it was wrong for leaving out some exhibits in Lubuulwa’s house which Kazinda had claimed had been planted into the house.
“We find that the prosecution did not prove that the said recovered documents were in constructive possession of the appeallant.”
The court said it was wrong for Justice Wangutsi to hold that Kazinda keeping important documents away from office to his home amounted to hiding them from whoever could have been looking for them.
“On the record is a letter from the Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana to the Inspector General of Police requesting action to be taken against the appellant and reporting his disappearance from office he had been transferred.”
The three justices ruled that it was not possible for someone who had been reported to be have had a prolonged absence from office to hide important documents from the same office.
On the offence of forgery, the Court of Appeal said it could have been true that Kazinda forged a document yet in law he was mandated as a signatory to it.
The judges ruled that Kazinda’s appeal succeeds and put aside the judgment and orders of the trial court .
“But before we take leave of this appeal, we wish to express our displeasure at the poor conduct of investigations in this case. The investigations were bungled and lacked professionalism. They left a lot to be desired.”
Despite completing his five year jail sentence, Kazinda is currently in Luzira after being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for being convicted of defrauding government of shs316 million.
He is also still facing other 70 corruption charges for allegedly stealing almost shs10 billion while still the principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister.
The money was meant for reconstruction of Northern Uganda and Karamoja regions under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan(PRDP).