Bigirimana Testifies Against Kazinda

store geneva;”>This followed a moving testimony of OPM permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana at the Anti Corruption Court on Thursday in which Kazinda’s trail of crimes and conspiracies to plunder public funds was exposed.

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Bigirimana was appearing as a witness testifying against his former junior.

Geofrey Kazinda in court

In his testimony, Bigirimana described his relationship with Kazinda as “official,” which he said meant “transacting government business without personalizing it or treating it as a personal business.”

“Kazinda was answerable to the undersecretary in charge of Finance. I was his supervisor by the virtue of being the Accounting Officer,” Bigirimana elaborated.


He further noted that Kazinda was doing work with limitations.

“He used to conduct himself unprofessionally. I remember telling him that his conduct was wanting.

He would disappear from his office and I would get complaints from finance assistants that he would even switch off his phone.

A Principal Accountant charged with finance operations of the OPM?” wondered Bigirimana.

He said Kazinda used to comingle funds of several departments which was a breach of trust.

Former Principle Accountant, Geofrey Kazinda consulting lawyers.

“I warned him verbally and through internal memos and usually reminded him of his responsibilities, guided him and also warned him of the consequences of misconduct but he never styled up,” said the PS.

Regarding Kazinda’s mysterious disappearance from office, Bigirimana explained that his junior asked for two days off for medical consultation.

Kazinda later said the consultation had not yielded results.

“I informed him that it was ok but he should officially ask for leave. He never came back. He said he had gone to Nairobi but we realized he was still around though his phones were off,” said Bigirimana, adding, “As a responsible person, I requested for directions to his home and someone took me there. I found Kazinda lying down, watching television.”

“I sympathized with him but he promised to return to office by Monday. He never returned and his phones were off.”

Bigirimana said it was around June 18 that he wrote to IGP Lt Gen Kale Kayihura that he had received information from an informer that his signatures had been forged by Kazinda to facilitate the fraudulent transfer of funds from Bank of Uganda.

CIID got involved, leading to a forensic investigation in which a handwriting expert confirmed forgeries of Bigirimana’s signatures. The forgeries and other security papers were found at Kazinda’s home in Bukoto by police.

Pius Bigirimana takling to lawyers

While it was the practice of the Central Bank to confirm signatures of Bigirimana by telephoning him before issuing payments, that was not the case on the transfer of over Shs30bn.

Asked by Kazinda’s lawyers led by MacDusman Kabega why he at one time diverted funds from the Crisis Management and Recovery Programme account to purchase a 5000 CC Mercedes Benz for Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Bigirimana said the all recovery operations in Northern Region fall under OPM.

“The Premier travels in all parts of the country not only Karamoja. He is entitled to two vehicles so we had to think out of the box due to the challenges we faced at the time. In such circumstances, you spend the money and provide a viable explanation later,” he observed.

Pressed to explain whether he was authorized to divert the money without the knowledge of the Accountant General, Bigirimana said the Premier needed a car and there was no alternative source of funds at the time.

“It was an administrative issue,” he added.

Bigirimana clarified Kazinda was part of a racket of officials in Bank of Uganda and OPM that manipulated the system before forging his signatures to facilitate cash withdraws from the Central Bank.

The PS also denied knowledge of some security papers and cash withdraw forms carrying his signatures showed to him in court. He described them as forgeries.

Justice Wangututsi rejected plans by Kazinda’s lawyers to grill Bigirimana on the source of $100,000 for his wife’s new Mercedes Benz.

“I don’t see the relevance of Bigirimana’s wife’s Benz and alleged forgeries and abuse of office by Kazinda,” said Wangutusti.

The PS, Pius Bigirimana arrives at the anti corruption court

He explained that his wife just topped up money after selling another Benz.

Kazinda is currently being charged for abuse of office, forgery Bigirimana’s signature, making documents without authority and unlawful possession of government stores.

Jane Francis Abodo, the lead prosecutor, informed the court that she will be presenting four more witness before court to testify against Kazinda.

Charged jointly with the commissioner for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management, Mr John Owor, and Ms Beatrice Kezabu, the assistant resettlement officer in OPM, Kazinda is also facing charges of fraud before the Chief Magistrates court.

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