Former Minister Kabafunzaki convicted for corruption, ordered to pay UGX10 Million or serve three years in jail
The former State Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki has been convicted for corruption. The verdict was pronounced by anti-Corruption Court Judge Margaret Tibulya on Friday morning after finding him guilty of soliciting a bribe of 5 million Shillings about four years ago.
Justice Tibulya in her judgement noted that the prosecution was able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The prosecution told the court that on April 6 and 8 2017, Kabafunzaki directly solicited and accepted a bribe of Shillings 5million from Hamid Muhammed, the Chairperson of Aya Group of Companies as an inducement to clear him of sexual abuse allegations by his former employee, Jamila Opondo.
The complainant made the allegations both before the police and Kabafunzaki in his capacity as Labor state minister. Police arrested the minister red-handed with the money together with his former Political Assistant, Brian Mugabo and an Interior Designer, Bruce Lubowa at Serena Hotel.
The Prosecution tabled evidence from several witnesses including recordings showing how Kabafunzaki got the money and handed it to Mugabo to count it and tried to hide it behind the hotel curtains when police stormed to arrest them. Mugabo later testified as a state witness against Kabafunzaki, which prompted the Directorate of Prosecution to drop the charges against him and Lubowa.
Justice Tibulya, in her judgement delivered in-camera ordered Kabafunzaki to pay a fine of 10 million Shillings or serve a three-year jail term.
The State Attorney, Josephine Namatovu, told journalists that the court convicted the former minister on both offences and handed him a fine of 5 million Shillings for each offence.
The court has also barred Kabafunzaki from holding any public office for ten years and ordered him to forfeit the 5 million Shillings he paid for his bail for absconding from the court proceedings.
The judge issued a warrant of arrest directing security agencies to arrest Kabafunzaki on-site and produce him in the court to comply with the respective orders and sentence.
Kabafunzaki abandoned the trial in March 2021 when it was in its advanced stages pending the opinion of court accessors and judgement. The court issued a warrant of arrest for the former Rukiga count member of parliament in vain.
He was previously represented by lawyers Macdusman Kabega and Evans Ochieng who were also not in court to receive the judgement. Efforts to speak to Ochieng were futile as calls from our reporter to his cellphone went without reply.