The Anti Corruption Court has cancelled bail of embattled city tycoon Hassan Basajjabalaba and remanded him to Luzira prison until such a time when he applies for bail before the High Court.
Basajjabalaba’s bail was cancelled after the court presided over by Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa committed him along with his brother, Muzamiru Basajjabalaba, to the high court for trial.
The court decision left the duo confused because it was the least they expected to happen to them. Their lawyers led by Kavuma Kabenge are protesting the move saying it’s unconstitutional.
The businessman along with his brother face fraud charges in connection to the alleged forgery of a consent judgment that led to the payment of 142 billion shillings as compensation award after his several city market tenders were cancelled by government.
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and two other cabinet ministers last year successfully challenged bail cancellation upon committal of a suspect to High Court for trial, in an April 5, 2012 Constitutional Court ruling. But the Chief Magistrate justified the cancellation of Basajjabalaba’s bail on grounds that court can cancel bail under exceptional circumstances.
His lawyers were seen pushing hard to have their clients out of detention.
The matter had come for hearing today but state prosecutors; Lillian Omara and Barbra Kawuma, informed the court that they had instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to have the accused committed to High Court for trial.
Court also went ahead and read to them the indictment of the case and also it’s summary.
Basajjabalaba, 45, is charged with uttering a false document, forgery of a judicial document and conspiracy to defeat tax laws. He denies the charges.
According to the charge sheet, Basajjabalaba and his younger brother, Muzamiru, between 2010 and 2011, conspired to prevent or defeat the execution or enforcement of tax laws in respect of taxes amounting to20 billion shillings.
The money was for taxes to be paid by the businessman out of the 142 billion shillings compensation award he had received from government.
The money in question was arising from the compensation award to his company, HABA Group, after several of his market tenders were cancelled.
Further, prosecution alleges that on or about October 6 last year, the accused forged a consent judgment purporting to have been entered into between his company HABA and the Attorney General agreeing that the payments of 142 billion would not be subjected to any taxes, whereas the award was subjected to the tax laws.