On Wednesday, December 5, 2012, a member of UAH (whom we prefer to keep anonymous due to the sensitivity of this matter) had gone to Murchison Bay prison in Luzira to visit a relative, and ran into the now embattled former Principal Accountant in the Office of the Prime Minister Geoffrey Kazinda, and asked him a few questions on record. Kazinda also managed to photocopy a number of documents from his file and gave them to him. Below are excerpts.
Kazinda was in hospital ward upper floor bed number 8 by the window side facing the main Upper Prison, and there, he can virtually watch every vehicle in-coming to Murchison Bay area.
Anonymous: So Kazinda what happened to you, we are reading a lot about you in the papers over the scam in the OPM.
Kazinda: (gives sheepish smile, and lets out a prolonged hearty laugh) Well, Mr. X, am glad to see here, I didn’t know you could think about me. I am here, you know like you could have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo the two of you, and problems crop up. So, your friend with whom you were in Congo knows that you are the only other person who knows what you did there, and decides to deal with you, if possible eliminate. So, in my case am incarcerated here because the PS, Mr. Pius Bigirimana wants to keep me here. He knows if am out he cannot be a free man; I will let out a lot of information about the problems in OPM as far back as we began working together.
Anonymous: But surely, Bigirimana cannot keep you here indefinitely, after three months on remand you may get out, but, also, you will have your day in court so you telling your side of the story.
Kazinda: Yes that is true, but he hopes he can manipulate the system as he maligns me along like what you hear him saying in parliament before PAC. He is using the police especially IGP Kayihura to keep me here.
Anonymous: So what is your next step now that you are here, and each time you are suppose to appear before court you claim you are too sick to attend court?
Kazinda: No. As you can see, I am here in hospital admitted. In fact the doctors here have told me they can no longer manage my case from here. I need to get bail and travel to Nairobi for a further operation and treatment.
Anonymous: So what next anyway?
Kazinda: I am but when I get out am going to get a lot of money because of this malicious arrest and prosecution by the state on the instigation of the PS Bigirimana using the police, Grace Akullo and Kayihura.
Anonymous: You mean you are just being framed, you are totally innocent?
Kazinda: I am sure am innocent but we have done many things together with Bigirimana, and he knows that when I get out he may not be as safe. He should be here with me. If anything, he is the accounting officer responsible for many of much of the mess. But as you can see his testimonies in parliament before PAC he does not have the right answers. I am the one with some of the answers but he chose to deal with me as way of killing evidence and they get nowhere with those investigations.
Anonymous: Why did you use the domant account to steal public funds?
Kazinda: Some time back the people in finance ministry asked all accounting officers to indicate in writing which accounts were active and dormant, and which of those they wanted to leave open. This particular was then left open by the PS Bigirimana, he knows it and the Accountant General also knows the truth. It wasn’t me who opened or used. Bigirimana is signatory to that account.
Anonymous: Do you mean to say all these things we hear are really lies about you?
Kazinda: Many of the things were with his approval. He approved many of those things being talked about. But, am glad when he wanted me out he chose to use the forensic audit. I was never part of the audit. I was never interviewed. And so, most of the things are pinning him and he must be wishing the ground could swallow him. He did not know how far this thing would spin, and it is too late for him.
Anonymous: Do you mean you never forged Bigirimana’s signatures to withdraw money from banks including Bank of Uganda?
Kazinda: Never. I never forged any documents. Indeed no documents as far as I know were forged, and the PS knows as much. Those cheques were all signed by Bigirimana. In fact the PS is never sure of his own signatures, and we many cheques that were queried by Bank of Uganda and returned to us in OPM. They were genuinely signed by the PS but unfortunately he can never get his signature sight at once, he always tries many times before he gets it right.
Anonymous: You mean you did not steal cheque books, how about the ones recovered from your residence in Bukoto?
Kazinda: that is why I told am going to get a lot of money from this arrest and malicious prosecution. I was not present when the police search took place. I was never asked to sign those forms after the search. All those are concoctions by the PS, he is the one who personally brought a kavera full of documents and gave it to my mother, and the police have not bothered to verify them.
Anonymous: Why to your mother, and how did he know where your mother stays?
Kazinda: The PS has ever visited me at my home. He knows my house, and my mother lives next to me, and they know each other.
Anonymous: Where and when did Bigirimana visit you?
Kazinda: When I fell sick and took leave from June 04, 2012 to begining of July. I think he visited me towards the end of June; I have it on my records. But with a hind sight, I think he did not come to visit me just as a friend and his officer, he also came to survey my residence so he could come or send some people later to plant documents.
Anonymous: Why do you think so?
Kazinda: the Ps returned that evening and found he could not penetrate my residence, and so, he chose to give my mother the kavera full of documents which police later claimed, and used the press to say were recovered from residence. It was to blackmail me.
Anonymous: So were the forged cheques among them?
Kazinda: Those are not forgeries; they are genuine signed by the PS. Let me tell you the genesis of those cheques. It began some time, I think at the beginning of 2010 during the landslides in Bududa. The then Prime minister Prof. Nsibambi (Apolo) was returning from Bududa and he was with the PS when their helicopter crushed somewhere in Busoga… Bugiri. Prof. Nsibambi took sick leave, I think of about two months. The PS, Bigirimana never took sick leave but chose to work from home because he complained of terrible back and joint pains. The PS stayed home for about two weeks, and during all that I used to take to him cheques to sign from his home. In fact, I used to take them to him in his bed room. Not once, twice, three times, but many times I sat with him on his bed as he signs those cheques which were indeed very many. Many times he would try over and over until he gets his signature right. All those cheques which he signed but with faulty signature, I returned them for custody because they are government property auditors could come and ask for them.
Anonymous: You mean you went into his bed room?
Kazinda: Yes, because he was the principal signatory and there was no way we get money to run the operations of OPM. He asked me to take them to his bedroom.
Anonymous: Where does he live..I mean his residence?
Kazinda: Now he has shifted to Bugolobi, but at that time he was staying in those flats in Nakasero as you go past Emin Pasha hotel. I don’t remember the name of the road. There are some flats there I don’t know who owns them.
Anonymous: How about absconding from duty and refusing to write a handover report?
Kazinda: the PS is telling lies. I never absconded. He gave me an official sick leave from June 4, 2012 to July 8, 2012. (Kazinda gives me a photocopy of the leave memo dated 3rd June, 2012, and it endorsed by Bigirimana in which the PS wrote; PA. It is unfortunate. However take note that I am not aware of what went wrong. We shall discuss when you report back. Signed PS dated 4/6/12).
Anonymous: So if the PS gave you leave why do you think he turned on you?
Kazinda: The PS knows better why he did it. But I think that for a while the PS had developed a dislike for me and the senior accountant under me. He had cause his transfer, and ensured that someone he liked in the ministry of health, Mr. Mugumya was given accelerated promotion, and who was eventually posted to replace me even before I returned from sick leave.
Anonymous: Why did you refuse to handover and instead went underground>
As you can see the PS secured someone he wanted to replace me and got him posted even before I completed my sick leave. Secondly, he got me transferred during that leave. Thirdly according to my letter of transfer by the Accountant General, I was given up August 31, 2012 as the date for handover. But all these maneuvers came in between when I was on leave, and you can see the PS’s letter to the IGP, Auditor General, Accountant General, and IGG were all about the same time in July before I could complete my sick leave.
Anonymous: Will you testify before PAC?
Kazinda: I am not interested because as you can see the PS wants to kill evidence and that is why he is claiming Kazinda stole all the vital documents yet in his letter to the IGP he says he had put a second padlock on my office door. Also, as you can see from his testimony before PAC the PS does not gave all the information, and I don’t want to go there and give some of the information that may exonerate him. The mistrust is no mutual between him and me.