Judge Warns Prosecution As Pension Case Starts

1152 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Justice Lawrence Gidudu was not happy that prosecution is not ready to produce witnesses, warning he will give suspects bail if prosecution is not ready in the next hearing.

The presiding judge in the pension case, Justice Lawrence Gidudu has warned prosecution to be serious and bring witnesses in court or else he will release the suspects on bail.
 
The warning by the judge on Tuesday followed the prosecution's failure to bring any witnesses to testify against former Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Public Service, Jimmy Lwamafa, Christopher Obey and Stephen Kunsa Kiwanuka. Justice Gidudu now says the suspects will be released on bail if on 7th October, no witnesses are produced.

This, as the trial started in pension scam case, in which over 88 billion shillings was lost by pensioners. As the hearing started, senior state attorney Barbara Kawuma informed court that they were not ready for the trial because they had not shared evidence with the defense team.
 
Defense lawyers led by Nsubuga Mubiru then asked court to release the suspects on bail because their clients cannot continue being in prison when prosecution was taking its time.
 
Justice Gidudu however said he could not entertain a bail application now since another judge, Margaret Tibulya had recently rejected their bail application yet the circumstances which she based on to deny them bail had not changed.
 
But the judge assured the suspects that if prosecution does not produce witnesses on 7th October, the defense team will have a sound reason to apply and have their clients released on bail.
 
The suspects are facing eight charges including causing financial loss, abuse of office, embezzlement, false accounting , conspiracy to defraud government. These were read to them afresh and they all pleaded not guilty. 
 
The suspects are charged over their alleged role in the fraudulent budgeting of over 88 billion shillings of civil servants' pension contribution to National Social Security Fund, which civil servants do not contribute to.