Bribery | Former Ugandan Minister Kabafunzaki Implicated by Political Assistant
The State minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki, was yesterday implicated by his own political assistant for having allegedly received a bribe of Shs5 million from Aya Group chairman Mohammad Hamid at the weekend.
The implication of the minister in the scandal came shortly after his political assistant, Mr Brian Mugabo, pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory after the fact when they appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court.
Under this charge, it’s alleged that on that bizarre afternoon last Saturday, Mr Mugabo attempted to aid his boss to escape the law when he ran away with a khaki envelope, knowing that it contained a bribe from Hamid to the minister.
Pleading guilty — Mr Mugabo accepted the brief allegations read out by senior state attorney Barbra Kawuma detailing how the junior minister, while at Kampala Serena Hotel, purportedly asked him to keep the bribe money of Shs5 million in the right hand side pocket of his trouser.
The alleged bribe was intended to “clear” Hamid of a related matter where he has been accused of sexually harassing a female former employee at his Hilton Hotel located in Nakasero, Kampala.
The prosecution submitted that when police detectives demanded for the said khaki envelope, Mr Mugabo tried to hide it. Court heard that it was only after the police had reviewed footage off the hotel’s CCTV cameras that it was possible to pinpoint and retrieve the money from where Mr Mugabo had hidden it.
“After about 30 minutes, he (Mugabo) was summoned by the said A1 (minister) at the table where they were seated with the complainant (Hamid). He saw a khaki envelope on top of the table. It’s then that the minister told him to pick the envelope and fix it in his right side pocket of the trouser,” the state attorney told court about what happened at the hotel.
“At this point, he realised that the envelope he had in his right side pocket trouser was the envelope they were looking for, he, therefore, rushed to the corridor and threw it behind the curtain and came back and sat at the table where he had sat originally,” Ms Kawuma said.
“He (Mugabo) then left shortly to go to the washrooms, which were just around the corner and when he came back, he found the minister still seated but this time with two strange men. The complainant (Hamid) had already left.
“These men were in plain clothes but he heard them saying they were police officers and were demanding for the envelope given to the minister. They were asking from the minister the bribe that he had received,” the state attorney quotes Mr Mugabo as having revealed.
Ms Kawuma said that there was a scuffle between the policemen and the minister with his political assistant. She said the minister and his political assistant were eventually subdued and arrested.
She further informed court that after the scuffle, a search certificate was prepared where the said bribe money was listed after being serialized and photographed for use as evidence. Court also heard that Mr Mugabo appended his signature on the search certificate, which was also signed by a police officer.
After reading out these allegations, Chief Magistrate Agnes Alum asked Mr Mugabo, 21, whether they reflected the events as they happened last Saturday. Mr Mugabo answered: “Yes, the facts are true…”
Following the arrest and implication of the Hon. Herbert Kabafunzaki — The President has since asked the embattled State Minister to step aside to allow for investigations to proceed unhindered.
Source — Daily Monitor Report and NBS News Video.