By Ronald Musoke
City Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba has this afternoon (Jan.18) been released on bail by the Anti-Corruption Court’s Irene Akankwasa amidst sighs, shrieks of joy and chants of Allahu Akbar from his family and friends.
He was released on bail upon paying Shs 60m in cash and each of his five sureties ordered to pay Shs 4b not in cash.
Basajjabalaba was on Jan. 16 charged with fraud arising from the payment of Shs142b in compensation by the government for the sale of three city markets and the Constitution Square.
Although his case was prepared by the DPP almost a year ago, he has been elusive and only appeared in the Anti-Corruption Court on Jan.17 after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) asked the Buganda Road Court to nullify an earlier private prosecution attempt over the same offence on Jan.16 saying the move was suspicious.
The DPP, who prosecutes public cases on Jan.16, successfully applied to the Buganda Road Court and the private prosecution charges were withdrawn and the case was re-instated as a public prosecution.
The private prosecution had been instituted by an advocate, Allan Mulindwa but Basajjabalaba denied the charges and was released on a cash bail of Shs30 million. He then attempted to leave the country but was arrested at the airport by Police detectives.
According to prosecution, Basajjabalaba and his younger brother, Muzamir Basajjabalaba, the director of HABA Group, between 2010 and 2011, conspired to prevent or defeat the execution or enforcement of tax laws, evading taxes amounting toShs20 million which arose from the compensation by the government to his company.
The prosecution also alleges that on October 6, last year, he forged a consent judgment purporting to have been entered into between his company HABA and the Attorney General, agreeing that the payment of Shs142 billion would not be subjected to any taxes.
“…It is not true that the accused was running away and bail is granted (to the accused) with stringent conditions,” Akankwasa said. She ordered Basajjabalaba to deposit his passport in Court. The case was adjourned to Jan. 28 when court will be ready for mention and for Basajjabalaba to take plea.