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Convicted banker waits eight years for 25 day reduction on jail sentence

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Court of Appeal has upheld the conviction of Kenneth Kaawe, a former head of Central Cash at the United Bank of Africa. Kenneth Kaawe was first convicted of embezzlement by the anti-corruption the court presided over by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire in 2011.

The trial stemmed from the theft of up to USD 50,000 (187 million Shillings) from the bank where he was working as the Head of Central Cash in 2009. The money had been transferred from the bank branch on William Street to the head office on Jinja road in Kampala and received by Kaawe on July 13, 2009, in the absence of his co-signatory Carol Nakabembwe.

But an anomaly was discovered after Nakabembwe notified their bosses that the money that had been loaded on a bullion van from William Street Branch was never received. In the aftermath, Kaawe was arrested, tried and convicted. He was subsequently sentenced to eight years in jail.

Kaawe challenged this sentence in the Court of Appeal, a process that has dragged on for more than eight years. He argued that Justice Bamugemereire erred in law and in fact when she relied on allegations that Kaawe took control of the process of cash delivery from the start-up to the disappearance of the documents, whereas not.

However, yesterday, the court of appeal upheld the conviction on account that the delivery notes and Cash in Transit forms were all direct evidence of the movement and proof that Kaawe received and acknowledged receipt of the money. However, they reduced his sentence by 25 days, from eight years to seven years, 11-months and five days.

According to the judges; Geoffrey Kiryabwire, Percy Tuhaise and Stephen Musota, it was erroneous for Justice Bamugemereire not to consider the period between October 27, 2009, and November 20 2009, which Kaawe spent on remand, yet it’s a mandatory constitutional requirement before one is given a custodial sentence.

Kaawe who has since been out on bail pending determination of his appeal case has now been arrested and taken to Luzira prison to start serving sentence.

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