KAMPALA, UGANDA: Herbert Kabafunzaki, the former junior minister for Labour has cleared a fine of Ten (10) million Shillings imposed on him by the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala as an alternate sentence for a bribery conviction to evade the three-year jail term that was due in waiting.
In a release order dated October 11, 2021, signed by Justice Tibulya, the former minister has been set free after clearing the fines but will serve the 10-year-ban from holding a public office.
Kabafunzaki was last week convicted of soliciting a bribe of five million Shillings from Hamid Muhammed, the Chairperson of Aya Group of Companies as an inducement to clear him of sexual abuse allegations that had been lodged against him by his former employee, about four years ago.
The complainant had filed a case before the police and reported to Kabafunzaki in his capacity as Labour minister in her pursuit for justice. But Kabafunzaki instead sought a bribe to frustrate the case. He was arrested on April 8, 2017, together with his former political assistant Brian Mugabo and an interior designer Bruce Lubowa, after receiving the money.
During the trial, the prosecution tabled evidence showing how Kabafunzaki got the money and handed it to Mugabo, but tried to hide it behind the hotel curtains when police stormed the room.
On October 8, 2021, Anti-Corruption Court Judge Margaret Tibulya ordered Kabafunzaki who was on the run since seven months ago to pay a fine of 10 million Shillings or serve a three-year jail term. The court also barred Kabafunzaki from holding any public office for ten years and to forfeit the five million Shillings he paid for his bail for absconding from the court proceedings.
Justice Tibulya issued a warrant directing security agencies to arrest Kabafunzaki on sight and produce him in the court to comply with the respective orders and sentence.
However, Irene Nakimbugwe, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions says that Kabafunzaki cleared the fines on Monday. Nakimbugwe told this website that although Kabafunzaki has been set free, the sentence of not holding a public office still remains.
But Nakimbugwe noted that the law doesn’t allow the office of the DPP to appeal against a lenient sentence. “There is nothing much we can do about that. Yes, we noted it was very lenient, it was very unfair, it doesn’t send a good message, but that’s the law”.