By Ronald Musoke
Justice David Wangutusi has warned the Ugandan press against convicting Geoffrey Kazinda, the interdicted principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, before Court does so.
Wangutusi said judgments being delivered in the newspapers are baseless.
Speaking with direct eye contact with Kazinda, the judge said: “You will be tried by one Court.” “The press should not convict Kazinda before Court does so,” Wangutusi said shortly after reading out 29 counts of forgery to Kazinda to which he pleaded not guilty with a frail tone.
Kazinda was on Dec. 10 appearing before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala to answer charges of forgery and unlawful possession of government property for which he allegedly used to defraud the government of billions of shillings.
Court heard that Kazinda, between Jan.25 last year and July 22 this year with intent to defraud or to deceive forged the signature of Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister contained in cash withdrawal forms purpoting to show that the forms were signed by Bigirimana whereas not. Kazinda’s fraudulent transactions then allegedly led to the financial loss of billions of shillings to the government.
However, in yesterday’s court proceedings, Kazinda’s lawyers led by McDusman Kabega and Augustine Idoot told Court that Kazinda has petitioned the Constitutional Court regarding the way his constitutional rights have been trampled upon by the government over the last few months. He petitioned the Constitutional Court through a suit which was filed by his other lawyer, Ambrose Tebyasa on Dec.3. The same petition has been served to the Attorney General.
Kazinda accuses government of violating his constitutional right to bail by frustrating the high court order which directed his release on bail recently. He therefore wants proceedings before the Anti Corruption Court deferred until the Constitutional Court addresses his complaints.