Appeal court acquits ex-OPM accountant Kazinda

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Kazinda

The Court of Appeal Wednesday acquitted former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Geoffrey Kazinda.

A panel of three justices including; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Stephen Musota and Percy Night Tuhaise, ruled that Kazinda was imprisoned for offences he did not commit.

Kazinda spent five years in prison after being found guilty in 2013 of forging 26 signatures of his then boss and former permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s office, Pius Bigirimana.

Representing himself, he appealed the sentence in Court of Appeal.

“This appeal, therefore, succeeds. We accordingly set aside the judgment and orders of the trial court and order for the appellant’s (Kazinda) immediate release unless he is held on other lawful charges,” the judges ruled on Wednesday.

They added: “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. It left a lot to be desired.”

Kazinda still faces other corruption cases which include illicit enrichment of Shs4.6b and 69 other charges where he is accused of stealing more than Shs5.4b meant for post-war recovery programme in northern region.

On the charge of abuse of office, the prosecution’s case was that the home of Kazinda’s mother, Teopista Nanfuka, was searched and a number of items were recovered.

Judges said the evidence on record shows that a search was carried out without a search warrant and certain documents were allegedly recovered from his brother’s room.

The justices also blamed the prosecution’s claim that Kazinda had absconded from duty in August 2012 yet his leave was still running.

The prosecution relied on the evidence of the handwriting expert report to prove that Kazinda defrauded OPM before the Anti-Corruption Court.

Court of Appeal justices ruled that the alleged forged documents were planted in his mother’s house.

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