The High Court in Kampala has temporarily stopped the impending arrest and prosecution of Cairo International Bank and its general manager in connection with the alleged theft of Shs165 billion pension scam money.
The order to halt the impending trial was issued by High Court Deputy Registrar Charles Emuria and directed by the Director of Public Prosecutions Mike Chibita.
“An interim order is issued to restrain the Director of Public Prosecutions, his officials or any person acting under his authority or under the respondents’ authority from charging, prosecuting, arresting or summoning the applicant or its officials either under criminal case No.0010 of 2013, Anti Corruption Division, or amended charges dated March CID HDTRS/E/04/2013 until the application for a temporary injunction is heard and disposed of on June 10,” the order reads in part.
Prosecution alleges that the bank and its general manager Mohammed Tarek conspired with five senior officials in the Ministry of Public Service including its permanent secretary Jimmy Lwamafa to steal more than Ugx 165 billion of pensioners’ money by creating 2,605 ghost beneficiaries.
The bank and its general manager were scheduled to appear before the Anti Corruption Court for plea taking on charges of theft and conspiracy to defraud.
The temporary orders were given on Monday in the presence of the bank’s lawyers Enos Tumusiime, McDusman Kabega and Tom Magezi. The state was represented by Geoffrey Atwine.
To that effect, when the matter came up this morning before presiding Chief Magistrate Sarah Langa Siu, the superior orders of the high court forced her to halt the trial until the bank’s main application in which they are challenging their prosecution is determined by the high court.
The other ministry of public service suspects include; Principal Accountant Christopher Obey, Senior Accounts Assistant, David Japians Oloka, Accounts Assistant Stephen Lwanga, Information System Analyst Francis Lubega and Director Research and Development Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa among others.
Lwamafa and group again today pleaded not guilty to the amended charge sheet that now includes Cairo Bank and its managing director.
A host of defense lawyers told court that since there is an order stopping the arrest and prosecution of Cairo bank and its general manager; it was prudent that the trial against other suspects of public service ministry be halted until the application in which the bank is challenging its prosecution at the Anti Corruption Court is determined.
But the state prosecutor Barbra Kawuma objected to the same request before asking court to continue prosecuting the rest of the suspects.
Court adjourned the matter to June 13 for mention of the case and way forward.