Supreme Court Grants Bail to Indian ‘Investor’ Accussed of Embezzlement

The Supreme Court in Kampala has granted bail to Rajiv Kumar Sabharwal, the Director of Global Wire Industries, who is in Luzira serving a jail term of four years on charges of embezzlement.

Rajiv was in 2020 charged in the Anti-Corruption Court on 53 charges of forgery, uttering a false document and embezzlement of more than 1 billion shillings from the company’s account in Diamond Trust Bank-DTB where he is the Co-Director in the Company.

He was accordingly in 2021 convicted and sentenced to serve four years in jail and ordered to pay a compensation of 556 million shillings.

He appealed the conviction and subsequent sentence but he lost in the Court of Appeal.

Dissatisfied with the confirmation of his sentence, he appealed to the Supreme Court and applied for bail pending determination of his appeal.

Through his lawyers led by Caleb Alaka, he said he suffers from severe hypersensitive heart disease, old age, and is elderly aged 60 years. He said given Rajiv’s past history of hypersensitive crisis and upper Gastral intestinal tract bleeding, prison conditions are not conducive for him.

He presented his friend Nicholas Kabagambe, an employee of Chains EEE limited, Enock Nahabwe Rubanzana, Godfrey Sunday Iga the Local Council One chairperson where he was staying in Maganjo Two Ward as his sureties.

Alaka further told Court that if the applicant is released on bail he will not jump it as he was released by High Court and he complied with all bail conditions. Besides the court heard that Rajiv was a first offender and wanted to settle the dispute with his partner and that he had a wife and children to look after.

He further said that the appeal has high chances of succeeding in the Supreme Court.

The Prosecution led by Stanley Baine opposed the application saying Rajiv has since been convicted and the conviction have been confirmed by the Court of Appeal so the chances of absconding were high once released on bail.

Baine added that the medical report does not state that the facility at Luzira prison cannot handle the condition of the convict and that the health status was still the same as of April 2023 when he first applied for bail and was denied that he had no exceptional circumstances for grant of bail.

In her ruling on Thursday as a Single Justice of the Supreme Court, Faith Mwondha has said looking at the medical report with their conclusion, one cannot keep Rajiv in prison unless they wanted him dead.

It was noted in that very report that with past history of hypersensitive crisis and upper GIT bleeding, prison conditions are not conducive for him. Considering the above medical report and the conclusion, it was clear to me that a person in such condition with his age of 60 years unless one wants wants him dead cannot remain in incarceration/ detention.

“It is time bomb!” said Mwondha.·

The Judge has said that during the trial he was granted bail and he kept reporting to court and that his family also would attend which shows a sense of responsibility.

She has also agreed with Rajiv’s lawyer that although he was ordered to pay a compensation of 556 million shillings on top of a custodial sentence, the monies cannot be obtained when he is in prison.

“Also, regarding the issue of substantial delay, I cannot accept the submissions of counsel for the respondent that it was speculation. This is real. This is an appeal of June 2023 and yet the court has to handle appeals of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. So it is a matter this court is obliged to take judicial notice of,” added Mwondha.

She has now directed Rajiv to pay 10 million shillings cash and sureties 10 million not cash as commitment that he doesn’t abscond from trial.

According to Mwondha, one of the sureties Kabagambe will transfer his land title from the Anti-Corruption Court and deposit it in the Supreme Court within two weeks and Rajiv is further directed to report to the Registrar every after 14 days starting August 17th 2023.

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