City tycoon Hajji Hassan Basajjabalaba is now a free man after the Director for Public Prosecutions decided to discontinue his case.
The businessman and his brother Muzamiru Basajjabalaba nine years ago (2013) were dragged to Anti-Corruption court on accusations of evading taxes following a mega compensation deal worth Shs142bn they got from government.
The compensation was in respect of a botched contract of taking over Kampala markets and constitutional square awarded to him by then Kampala City Council.
According to Assistant DPP in charge of anti-corruption Josephine Namatovu, they couldn’t continue with the case as most of their key witnesses have since died.
This case at first suffered setbacks after Basajjabalaba rushed to the Constitutional Court objecting to the trial contending that it was illegal. He argued that the procedures and actions of the police and the DPP and the laws under which they were being tried contravened several articles of the Constitution.
Unfortunately for them (Basajjas), they lost the case and pushed ahead with an appeal in the Supreme Court which also didn’t find merit in their appeal and hence dismissed it but however, gave green light for resumption of their trial by the DPP.
Shockingly though, since November 19, 2021, when the Supreme Court ordered resumption of the prosecution, the Anti-Corruption Court hadn’t done so.
The Anti-corruption Court’s perceived inaction forced a local organisation-Legal Brains Trust-LBT that had also sued Basajjabalaba for signing contracts to take over the markets without the advice of the Attorney General, to write to the Chief Registrar demanding that the case be fixed for hearing.
The same Legal Brains Trust also filed an application seeking the High Court to force the DPP and the Attorney General to resume the Basajjabalaba case but however, registered misery as court declined to register the case. The court instead wrote to LBT informing them that they couldn’t resume the case because the DPP had withdrawn the matter.
The Basajjabalaba saga in 2012 turned sour for then finance minister Syda Bbumba and then Attorney general Khiddu Makubuya and the duo lost their cabinet seats after parliament threatened to censure them. The businessman however, maintained his innocence in the whole project saying he had been duped and therefore had to seek compensation. In a dramatic turn of events, the DPP took him to court on accusations of not paying taxes but the case has since been dropped due to lack of witnesses.