Lawyers Ordered To Serve Seven Year Jail Term for embezzlement

In Summary
  • They Embezzled 2.5 Retirement Benefits of Former ISO Employees.
  • They were ordered to refund the money.

The Court of Appeal has ordered three people to serve their seven year imprisonment after being convicted of embezzling 2.5 billion shillings that were meant for the former ISO employees.

On the 13th of December 2018, justice Lawrence Gidudu convicted Jeff Lawrence Kiwanuka, Jamal Kitandwe and Bernard Kamugisha of the said offense and handed them seven years in prison.

These were charged with embezzlement, convicted by the Anti Corruption court, sentenced to 7 years and ordered to pay compensation worth 2.5billion shillings jointly and severally.

Being dissatisfied with both conviction and sentence they appealed saying the trial judge Lawrence Gidudu did not properly evaluate the evidence before convicting them and reached a wrong conclusion.

However, three justices led by Fredrick Egonda Ntende, Catherine Bamugemereire and Christopher Madrama dismissed their appeal and upheld both conviction and sentence.

The evidence before court shows that between 1993 to 1995 over 500 ISO employees were retired from service and the court ordered the government to pay them over 39 billion shillings as compensation for terminating them and breach of contract. Indeed, the government paid the first installment of 10 billion shillings and the remaining balance of over 29billion shillings was to be paid in two installments during the financial years 2015/2016 and 2017/2018 as agreed in the MOU.

To their surprise the 10 billion shillings were deposited to the accused's private joint account in Crane Bank on June 18th 2014 and on the same day the three accused persons withdrew 2.5billion shillings in cash and they never remitted it to the beneficiaries.

The group was also ordered to refund all the money embezzled, which they have never done up to date.

"The MOU dated 21st May 2021 was that the money was to be paid to all former employees of ISO and not employees of ISO who had subscribed to membetship of UVETISO since it was a company formed to help former employees of ISO access their terminal benefits which were paid by government.Thus, claiming that one had to first subscribe in order to access their benefits would be befitting to the principles of natural Justice" said Justice Kakuru

According evidence from some of the victims, the appellants made it hard for any beneficiary to subscribe to the said illegal membership because, they had to pay fees to subscribe, which money they did not have after  winning their case.The court of appeal ruled that since the maximum sentence is 14 years, the seven years were not omnibus as claimed by the appellant's lawyers and ordered them to refund the said stolen benefits.The court of appeal further rendered their ongoing bail applications a nugatory upon disposing off their many appeals challenging their convictions and Sentence