Judge Blocks DPP From Ambushing URHC Accused Officials With New Evidence
Anticorruption court Judge Lawrence Gidudu has dismissed an application by the State that sought permission to bring additional evidence mid way the trial of six officials of Uganda Human Rights Commission; accused of Abuse of Office and embezzlement of 100mshs by irregularly requisitioning, approving and transferring the said money to personal accounts.
Prosecution’s Baine Stanley had argued that the investigating officer in this case never accessed the whistle blower the basis on which this investigation started; and that there are some documents like UHRC Financial Management Manual, Bank Statements, additional witnesses and documents from Bank of Uganda that he needed to be allowed to bring in as new evidence.
However the Judge rejected the application in part saying the Prosecution’s move was an assault on Article 28 of the constitution which guarantees accused persons’ right to a fair hearing; and that it would set a bad precedent if court allowed the State to re-organise its case half way the trial; actually wondering where the new evidence has been found a year after the accused persons were interdicted and left office.
The Judge observed that by the time the accused persons are committed for trial; it is presumed that investigations are complete and that the State is armed with the relevant evidence to sustain the charge.
Justice Gidudu therefore only allowed the UHRC Financial Management Manual to be presented since its a public document; but rejected the rest of the additional evidence describing it as an ambush on the Defence Legal team that is representing the accused persons.
The accused UHRC Officials are Secretary Patrick Mabiiho Nyakana; Wilfred Muganga Asiimwe- Director Incharge of regional services, Tadeo Wamala Accountant, Rebecca Nassuna Regional Human Rights Officer Jinja, Rebecca Agnes Tino inchrge of Hoima and Willy Agirembabazi incharge of Central region
The Prosecution case is that
the activities for which the said money was approved were not in the work plan and budget as provided by releases of JLOS an institution that supports government.
That the money has never been accounted for and was directly withdrawn from Bank of Uganda via the UHRC account.
They allegedly committed the offence in November/2018 while in performance of their respective offices in Kampala, Jinja and Hoima Districts respectively.
The accused persons were arraigned in court in July last year ; they have since denied the allegation and are out on bail which they have been honouring upto date.