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Supreme Court Accepts AG's Appeal Against Constitutional Court Ruling in Kazinda Case

In 2014, Kazinda applied to the Constitutional Court for orders declaring that the act by the DPP to split the cases and initiate charges of offences founded on the same facts for which he was earlier on convicted, contravened the constitution, which was granted.
09 Nov 2021 16:57

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The Supreme Court has accepted to hear an appeal by the Directorate of Public Prosecution challenging the constitutional court judgement, staying the prosecution of Geoffrey Kazinda, the former principal accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister. 

In August last year, the Constitutional Court stayed all corruption proceedings against Kazinga, saying his successive prosecution on different cases based on the same facts amounted to double jeopardy contrary to Article 28 (9) of the Constitution.  

The court also ruled that the numerous trials of Kazinda for offences similar in character also deprived him of his right to a fair hearing. Since 2012, the Directorate of Public Prosecution-DPP has prosecuted Kazinda in separate cases for making fraudulent payments, embezzlement, forging receipts and invoices, false accounting, conspiracy to secure money outside authorized disbursement procedures among others.  

In 2014, Kazinda applied to the Constitutional Court for orders declaring that the act by the DPP to split the cases and initiate charges of offences founded on the same facts for which he was earlier on convicted, contravened the constitution, which was granted.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, the Government filed a notice of appeal on November 20th, 2020. However, this came after the expiry of the 50 days within, which government should have filed the appeal.  The prosecution led by Counsel Richard Adrori told the supreme court that they learnt on Oct 31st, 2021 that they had filed their notice of appeal three days late.    

He said that the court served the Attorney General with the ruling on Sept 29th, 2020 and that they filed their notice of appeal on November 20th, 2020 making it three days late.  The prosecution hence asked the court to allow them to validate their application, arguing that the issues raised in their appeal are substantive.

 

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Kazinda told the seven-member panel of the supreme court justices that he would suffer double jeopardy if the application is granted. He insists that all cases are grounded on the same fact based on the fact that he was a civil servant under the Office of the Prime Minister. He told the court that the actions of the Attorney general were tantamount to disregard of court orders and that the appeal was an afterthought.  

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In a brief ruling read by Justice Rubby Opio Aweri, the seven-member panel of the Supreme Court justice ruled in favour of the attorney general allowing the application. The other members of the panel are Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dolo, Justice Stella Arach, Lillian Tibatemwa, Ezekiel Muhanguzi, Mike Chibita and Percy Tuhaise. 

They promised to provide details in their main ruling.  

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The prosecution is appealing against the ruling of the Constitutional court, saying that the cases for which Kazinda is being prosecuted are different. Kazinda is being prosecuted under Criminal Case number 138 of 2012. He was convicted on several counts of forgery of cash withdraw authorization forms, security papers that are computer generated and making documents without authority.

In Criminal Case number 105 of 2012, he was also charged with 3 others for fraudulent accounting of fuel invoices contrary to sections in the Anti-corruption Act. In Criminal case 59 2016, Kazinda was convicted for possession of illicit wealth while in an ongoing case of Criminal Case 56 of 2018 prosecution, says that Kazinda presented two instruments to Bank of Uganda to make genuine payments whose accountability was found to be false.

The prosecution insists these are different cases based on different facts. The court shall deliver the judgement on notice.