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Pension scam: Justice Keitirima pins lawyer Kasango

Lawyer Bob Kasango

Testifying in court yesterday, High court judge John Eudes Keitirma described lawyer Bob Kasango as a “fraudster.”

The judge was a prosecution witness in a case in which Kasango is accused of forging a judicial document in order to steal pension cash amounting to Shs 17.4bn.
Justice Keitirima presented to court an audio recording in which Kasango allegedly told him how officials in the ministry of public service had connived with a court clerk to forge a document bearing his signature and later smuggled it into court records.

“This kind of fraud made me shake like a leaf. In my life as a tax master, I have never even given anyone a billion shillings but to find out that I gave more than Shs 7.8bn was simply unbelievable,” Keitirima said.

As Justice Keitirima testified in a packed court, Kasango kept writing every single word the judge said. He smiled at some point. In the case, Kasango’s co-accused include Milton Mutegeya, a court clerk, and the three jailed former ministry of public service officials; Jimmy Lwamafa, Christopher Obey, and Stephen Kiwanuka Kunsa.

GENESIS

On June 22, 2013, while he was still a registrar, Justice Keitirima said he got a request from the police’s CIID for a copy of the ruling on the case in question. On checking the file, he said he found two documents showing he had awarded over Shs 7.8bn in costs.

“These two documents were peculiar but they had a semblance of my signature yet I had never even taxed this case,” he said.
“One of them bore a stamp that did not belong to the registry,” the judge said.

Justice Keitirima said he called the clerks of the High court Civil division but they all distanced themselves from the file. Keitirima said he called John Matovu, the pensioners’ lawyer, and asked him about the forgeries.

“Counsel Matovu told me all along I have been defrauded by a lawyer called Bob Kasango,” Justice Keitirima said.
“He told me that when he won the case before Justice Kibuuka Musoke, because he was considered to be an opposition lawyer, he gave Bob Kasango the green light to recover the [costs],” Keitirima added.

“When counsel mentioned Kasango, I remembered that this gentleman had been implicated in the fraud case involving the [Tooro] queen mother [Best Kemigisha],” Keitirima said.

“I told Matovu that I’m taking this matter to the police.”

TAPE RECORDING

Before filing a report with the police, Keitirima called Kasango to his office. Keitirima said the lawyer proposed they meet at Garden City. The judge, however, insisted they meet at the High court. After buying a Sonny recorder, Keitirima said he met Kasango on January 30 in his chambers.

“During the conversation which I recorded, Kasango told me that it was [Christopher] Obey’s people who had colluded with a certain clerk and smuggled the documents on the court record. He told me that the clerk was assisted by people from the public service ministry and ministry of finance,” he said.

When the judge told Kasango that he wanted to get out of the mess unscathed, Kasango allegedly responded, “Just accept that you made the ruling and you certified all those documents, and that’s your signature, everything will be alright,” Keitirima said.

As the tape was played in court, Kasango was heard telling Keitirima that once he accepts that he signed the forged documents, he would talk to his contacts in the police.

“I can talk to Musana, and all those boys at the CIID, they are my people, and you know I know all these guys,” the voice on tape says.

“Please don’t report this matter to the police be- cause if you do, we are finished.”

Keitirima added: “That’s the first time I was talking to this gentleman (Kasango) and I hope it will be the last.”

The judge is to be cross- examined by the defence lawyers next week.

dkiyonga@observer.ug

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