KAMPALA – Court of Appeal has acquitted the jailed former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Geoffrey Kazinda on charges of abuse of office and forgery in which he had been convicted and sentenced to 5 years and 2 years respectively.
However, this acquittal comes after Kazinda had already completed his sentence. Although he is still battling with other corruption-related charges.
Three justices including; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Percy Tuhaise have overturned Kazinda’s conviction after faulting trial High court judge David Wangututsi of failing to properly evaluating the evidence adduced before him and erroneously found Kazinda guilty of abuse of office, forgery and being in unlawful possession of government stores.
Court concurred with Kazinda that police and prosecution did shoddy investigations that failed to prove that the cash withdraws forms and security papers bearing a forged signature of Mr Pius Bigirimnana were indeed found at the home of his(Kazinda ‘s ) mother Ms Teopista Nanfuka.
“According to the evidence on record, there was neither a search certificate nor any photographic evidence tendered in court showing how the police search team retrieved the cash withdraw forms and security papers from a room at Nanfuka’s residence,” court ruled.
Adding; “In absence of this photographic evidence, the documents which formed a basis of these charges could have been planted by the search team which went to search his mother’s home with documents in a bag and an envelope.”
The court has gone ahead to set aside Kazinda’s conviction on charges of being in unlawful possession of government stores on grounds that by the time of his arrest on July 22, 2012, he had not yet handed over office as principal Accountant in the OPM and therefore it is not surprising that he was found with the ministry’s documents at his residence .
However, even though the justices ordered for Kazinda’s immediate release, he cannot leave prison because he is still serving another 5-year jail sentence handed to him by the Anti-corruption court for causing a-Shs316 million loss in forged fuel receipts to the OPM.
Kazinda has also since appealed against the said sentence.