Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma of the Court of Appeal has granted bail to three people who were convicted by the Anti-corruption High Court for embezzling Shs. 88 billion pension cash.
The former Ministry of Public Service Ministry officials are; the former permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa, former principle accountant Christopher Obey and former Director of Research and Development Kiwanuka Kunsa.
Justice Kavuma decided to release the trio basing on Article 23 and 26 of the 1995 constitution which grants court power to grant an appellant’s bail with reasonable grounds pending the hearing of their appeal.
Justice Kavuma overruled a request by the senior state Attorney Tom Walugembe who had asked court not to release the accused, saying that their case involves huge sums of money which attracts a lot of public interest.
Kavuma pointed out that denying the appellants bail is a violation of their constitutional rights since the appellant court has not yet pronounced itself on their appeal, where they challenge Anti-Corruption Court Judge Justice Lawrence Gidudu’s sentence and conviction of the suspects.
“Although the appellants were convicted, it doesn’t deny them chance for bail because they were not convicted as result of personal violence,” he ruled.
Justice Kavuma also considered that Mr Lwamafa, 65, is of advanced age, a first offender and that keeping him in jail is a rights violation considering that the appeal hasn’t been scheduled due to Election petitions which take precedent on all matters before that court.
“It’s not in doubt that the appellant will not turn up for trial having been able to turn up in court when he was first granted bail by the High court and court has found all his sureties substantial, since they stood for him earlier on”
Each of Lwamafa’s sureties has been ordered to sign a bond of 40 million shillings.
He was also ordered to deposit his passport in court and the land title of his home located at Plot 13 Yusuf Lule Road Nakasero
He is expected to report back to court every last working day of the month starting with 31st July 2017
Christopher Obey on the other hand was ordered to deposit his land title for his home located at Muyenga Tank hill and each of his 5 sureties has been ordered to sign a bond of 50 million shillings
Meanwhile, Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa who is also considered to be of advanced age, was ordered to deposit the title of his home in Nakinyuguzi zone Makindye division, and each of his sureties will sign a bond of 10 million shillings each.
These three, however, despite being freed on bail will not be released today because they still have a pending case against them before the Anti-corruption court where they also need to apply for bail.