Monday, 24 June 2013


By the way, do you know that a signatory to a bank account can intentionally use a signature which differs from the one he gave to the bankers, that way, it becomes possible to forge one's own signature to facilitate fraud!
William Kituuka Kiwanuka.
Kazinda is guilty, rules High Court

Guilty. That was the verdict reached by court yesterday in the case where Geoffrey Kazinda, the interdicted principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, was accused of forgery among other crimes.

Justice David Wangutusi of the Anti-Corruption Division ruled that Kazinda, whose trial has been the talk of the nation, was guilty of 29 counts of fraud as had been indicated by the prosecution.

Key among the accusations was that Kazinda forged more than 20 signatures of his then boss and permanent secretary at the OPM, Mr Pius Bigirimana, with intent to defraud the institution.
Among the forged documents were security papers and withdraw forms (both very high sensitive documents that are used in transaction of huge sums of money), which were recovered by the police from Kazinda’s home in Bukoto, a Kampala suburb.

Whereas no money was lost in this case, prosecution said Kazinda had intentions of defrauding OPM if the situation had not been arrested early.

Addressing a packed and tense courtroom, Justice Wangutusi said prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Kazinda committed all the 29 offences. “This court finds that prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and does not agree with the assessors who advised this court to acquit him.”

On forging Mr Bigirimana’s signatures, the judge said expert evidence proved the forgery and noted that Kazinda was behind the move. “In my opinion, PW9 (Mr Bigirimana) was not the author of the signature on the specimen, so who forged them?” asked Judge Wangutusi. “The circumstances under which these documents were found being hidden in a student’s room in his mother’s house and yet they were very sensitive documents, it’s traceable to him (Kazinda).”
Kazinda’s mother’s house is in the same compound that houses her son’s mansion in Bukoto.

The judge added: “It’s my view that the motive to cover an illegal act, points at him as the one who forged the documents.” The judge announced that he would pass the actual sentence next Wednesday. However, the law prescribes a maximum sentence of seven years for abuse of office, seven years for making a document without authority, three years for forgery and for unlawful possession of government stores.

Smartly clad in a dark-blue suit, Kazinda who has been on remand in Luzira Prison since October last year, seemed unbothered after the ruling. There was drama, however, when Kazinda asked to address court and accused the police of making off with his mother’s documents, adding that she needed them. The judge advised him to follow up the matter using his “able” lawyers.

Principal State Attorney Jane Frances Abodo asked court to hand Kazinda the maximum custodial sentence, to act as a deterrent to rising corruption in the country.

She said the fact that Kazinda was in possession of government property at his mother’s home, it indicated that there was intention to defraud donor money and the taxpayers. Ms Abodo said the crime was even graver, considering that the office Kazinda plotted to defraud houses critical politicians like the Prime Minister and the First Lady.

Maximum sentence
“The convict needs to be taken away from circulation and reflect on what he has done, we are praying for the maximum sentence,” Ms Abodo told court. But defence lawyer Augustine Idoot asked court to give Kazinda a lenient sentence, preferably a fine instead of the custodial one. He argued that Kazinda is a bread winner, married with children and dependents to look after. The lawyer also reasoned that there was nothing special about OPM, indicating that it is like “any other office”.

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