The Anti Corruption Court has today set March 7 to determine the fate of frozen bank accounts belonging to two of the pension scam suspects.
The date was set by Justice Paul Mugamba after hearing arguments both in support and against the lifting of the orders.
On November 8, 2012, the DPP successfully secured a court order from Nabweru Magistrates Court, among others; freezing the bank accounts of Mr Christopher Obey, the Principal accountant in the public service ministry and that of Mr David Oloka Japians, the senior accounts assistant in the same ministry.
Nabweru court ordered the freezing their personal and company bank accounts, restricting transfer of movable and immovable properties and managing their companies.
The DPP had successfully argued that there was need to freeze the bank accounts and restrict the movement and management of assets belonging to Mr Obey and Oloka , claiming the properties were acquired through stolen money from government since the matter is still under investigation.
He argued that the suspects along with others in the public service ministry are still being investigated fraudulently acquiring Shs200 billion from government and could dispose the fraudulently acquired properties if the orders were reversed.
But when the matter came up for hearing today, Brain Othieno, one of the defense lawyers asked court to order the unfreezing of the bank accounts on grounds that the orders issued by Nabweru court were illegally secured.
He argued that the orders were issued without any formal application being heard and that their clients were not heard before ordering for the blocking of their accounts.
Mr Othieno also argued that Nabweru court is outside the jurisdiction of Kampala Central, hence it was irregular to secure orders from there.
Another defense lawyer Nathan Osinde, argued that the illegal actions of the state to block their client’s company accounts, has greatly had a toll on their businesses as they are on the verge of collapsing.
Some of the companies that the two accused public service officials have shares in and that they are crippling due to the freezing of the accounts include; Leads Insurance Company, St John’s College Ltd Mpigi, among others.
The lawyers also argued that their clients have been involved in business for a long time even before the police commenced investigating them in 2009.
The state represented by Ms Barbra Kawuma, asked court to maintain the earlier court orders of Nabweru by continuously freezing their bank accounts until such a time when they are through with their investigations.
This application was heard barely three weeks after Mr Obey along with other seven public service senior officials including the permanent secretary, Jimmy Lwamafa, were charged over the creation of ghost pensioners and their eventual payment totalling to over Shs165 billion