Herbert Kabafunzaki, a former State Minister for Labour, was found guilty of corruption by the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala.
In 2017, Kabafunzaki and two others were arrested at Kampala Serena Hotel for accepting a sh5 million bribe as part of the sh15 million they had sought from AYA Investment boss Mohammed Hamid.
Justice Margaret Tibulya of the Anti-Corruption Court ruled on Friday that evidence presented in court, including phone voice recordings and hotel CCTV footage, linked the former minister to the crime.
“The above evidence clearly places the accused at the scene of the crime for the purpose of committing the alleged crimes, and it corroborates Pw3’s (Serena hotel financial controller) statement that he handed over the shs5 million to the accused.” “I find that the accused received shs5 million directly as alleged in count two, in agreement with the gentlemen assessors,” Justice Tibulya added.
The judge stated that the evidence shows that the money was intended for Kabafunzaki and his accusers, among other things, to clear the businessman’s name.
“Mohammed Mohammed Hamid’s testimony that the accused and his agents told him the money was for clearing his name of sexual harassment allegations was uncontested. It is well known that one of the accused’s responsibilities as Minister in Charge of Labor was to ensure that the country’s labor relations were harmonious. The fact that he asked for and got money to clear Pw3’s name can only suggest that the money was in exchange for an act in the performance of his official functions, which I believe.”
“In conclusion, and in accordance with the gentlemen assessors, I believe the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence to support the charges in each count.” I find the accused guilty of each count of corruption.”
Punishment is severe.
The judge stated that because Kabafunzaki jumped bail, he demonstrates a lack of regard for the criminal justice system and, as a result, deserves an appropriate penalty.
“In the elevated post of Minister and in public life, he was clearly a mistake.” The fact that he was able to solicit and receive gratification in this manner only proves that he was incorrectly assigned to the positions of Member of Parliament and Minister. He will never be able to make up for the embarrassment he caused the appointing authority.”
On the first count of corruption, the judge sentenced the minister to a shs5 million fine or three years in prison, with the same punishment for the second count of corruption.
If Kabafunzaki chooses to pay the fine, Justice Tibulya says the sentences will be consecutive, meaning he will pay shs10 million in total, but the sentences will be concurrent if he chooses to go to prison.
“He is barred from holding a public office for a period of l0 years from today,” Justice Margaret Tibulya ruled under Section 46 of the Anti-Corruption Act.