Former minister Kabafunzaki evades prison, pays Shs 10m fine

Former State Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Former State Minister for Labour Herbert Kabafunzaki has paid the Shs 10 million fine imposed on him by the Anti-Corruption court in Kampala as an alternate sentence for a bribery conviction.

Kabafunzaki was convicted of soliciting a Shs 5m bribe 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, Anti-Corruption court judge Margaret Tibulya ordered Kabafunzaki who was on the run since seven months ago, to pay a fine of Shs 10 million or serve a three-year jail term. The court also barred Kabafunzaki from holding any public office for ten years and also asked him to forfeit the Shs 5m 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.

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However, Irene Nakimbugwe, the deputy spokesperson of the directorate of public prosecutions says that Kabafunzaki cleared the fine on Monday. Nakimbugwe told said 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,” she said.

URN has also seen a release order dated October 11, 2021, signed by justice Tibulya indicating that Kabafunzaki has been set free after clearing the fines.