Uganda court jails corrupt official for 40 years

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A Ugandan anti-corruption court Friday sentenced a government official to 40 years in prison and ordered him to pay 5.4 million US dollars in compensation for looting a donor-funded program to help rebuild the country’s conflict-battered north.

Godfrey Kazinda was accused of embezzling 26.4 million US dollars from a scheme funded by the governments of Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark to help northern Uganda recover from the ravages of a decades-long insurgency by the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army.

A former accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister, Kazinda was found guilty of “the offenses of illicit enrichment, forgery, causing financial loss and conspiracy to commit felonies”, Justice Margaret Tibulya said, sentencing him to 40 years in jail.

“You are ordered to compensate the government to a tune of 19,171,476,505 shillings,” she added.

The government has also seized Kazinda’s properties, including a 20-room mansion valued at one million dollars, as well as four luxury sports cars worth $218,000, court documents showed.

Kazinda used the proceeds to fund a life of luxury, living in a suite at the Sheraton Kampala for about 10 months at one point and travelling to high-end tourism destinations all over the world.

Police also found huge amounts of foreign currency stashed away while conducting a search of one of his Kampala properties, including GBP 200,000 ($273,700) in cash.

Friday’s ruling follows a protracted nine-year legal battle.

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