The Court of Appeal in Kampala has reduced from 15 to seven years the jail sentence had to former principal accountant in the Prime Minister’s office, Godfrey Kazinda .
The Anti- Corruption Court’s Justice Margaret Tibulya in November 2020 handed Kazinda a 15 year jail sentence after being found guilty of illicit enrichment for having rented Constellation suites in Nakasero and apartments in Kampala for ten months at a cost of shs 210 million, had a house and land at Kyadondo , Mengo West valued at shs3.1bn, cars including BMW,Mercedes Benz, ML class, Dodge saloon car all valued at shs769 million and diverting over 20bn government funds way beyond his salary.
Unsatisfied with the court’s decision, Kazinda ran to the Court of Appeal.
On Thursday, three justices of the Court of Appeal including Fredrick Egonda-Ntende, Catherin Bamugemereire and Christopher Madrama reasoned with Kazinda and reduced the 15 year jail sentence.
“Taking into account both the mitigating and aggravating factors in this case the appropriate sentence would be 3 years on count one; 5 years’ imprisonment on count two and four years’ imprisonment on count three to be served consecutively, one after the other. However, we must deduct from the aggregate total of years to be served the time of four years and five months that the appellant spent in pre-trial custody, in compliance with article 23 (8) of the Constitution. And the balance thereof, seven years and 7 months, shall be served from the 6th day of November 2020,the date of his conviction,” the judges ruled.
Whereas Kazinda has asked court to overturn the entire conviction, the three justices of the Court of Appeal dragged feet in reasoning with him, noting that reducing the sentence was only prudent.
The embattled former principal accountant in the Prime Minister’s office had told the Court of Appeal justices that five year’s imprisonment on each of the three counts of illicit enrichment should run concurrently because he was charged with one offence of illicit enrichment and not distinct offences.
However, the judges dismissed this request by Kazinda.
“We find the appellant’s argument baseless because he was charged with three distinct offences of illicit enrichment, not arising from one transaction or one set of facts. Section 23 of the Trial on Indictments Act provides for joinder of counts. lt was within the discretion of the learned trial judge to impose consecutive rather than concurrent sentences, if she deemed it appropriate and provided reasons for doing so. We would not fault the learned trial judge on this point.”