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Finance ministry impostors remanded over sh2b deal

By Michael Odeng, Farooq Kasule

Added 12th June 2019 06:35 PM

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) slapped charges against the duo under sections 293, 390 and 302 of the Penal Code Act (PCA).

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The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) slapped charges against the duo under sections 293, 390 and 302 of the Penal Code Act (PCA).

FRAUD

Two city businessmen have been charged and remanded to Luzira prisons for purporting to be finance ministry officials to defraud Pastor Daniel Walugembe of sh2.5b.

Ismael Sulaiman Masaba, 39, and Eddy Ssekito, 40, were on Tuesday charged with demanding money with menaces, criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit a felony at the Law Development Centre court.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) slapped charges against the duo under sections 293, 390 and 302 of the Penal Code Act (PCA).

On conviction, the offence of demanding money with menaces attracts a maximum sentence of five years, criminal trespass one year while conspiracy to commit a felony elicits three-year jail term.

Grade One Magistrate Rosaline Nsenge read out the charges to the accused and they denied it.     

State prosecutor Rosaline Kiplowa informed the court that investigations are incomplete and asked for an adjournment.

“I pray that court gives us time so that the Police can complete inquiries,” she requested.

The prosecution alleges that between May 1 and June 6, this year, the duo and others still at large with menaces demanded money from Walugembe.

Speaking outside the court premises, Walugembe revealed to journalists that the accused contacted him on phone, claiming to be officials from the Ministry of Finance, who were processing his sh2.5b resulting from the sale of his land to government.

Walugembe, also a land dealer got the money in form of land compensation from Uganda Land Commission (ULC) after selling to government 507-acre piece of land in Bunyoro region.

Last year, the land probe commission, chaired by Justice Catharine Bamugemereire grilled Walugembe over the money following a complaint by Elizabeth Musoke claiming that the pastor had sold their land without their consent.

However, Walugembe maintained that he sold his part of the land to ULC after paying sh500m to Musoke’s family.

“I told them that I had never instructed anybody to process the money for me but they insisted on seeing me,” he said.

He said the suspects then went to Eternal Life Gospel Church, in Kimwanyi zone Wandegeya, where he conducts prayers and demanded his workers to see him.

“My workers told them that I was indisposed and they requested for my contact claiming they did not know me physically but were processing my money from the government. They later sent me threatening messages while demanding for the money,” he states.

He said he reported a case at Wandegeya Police Station and the suspects were arrested.

The accused’s relative who preferred anonymity explained that Walugembe had instructed the accused to process his money from government due to their influence in the Ministry of Finance but he later turned against them.

A senior police officer attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Abdul Kasule Bagenda, 60, and four others also stood surety for the accused men, but the magistrate said the ruling will be delivered on June 19.

Other sureties are Alfred Kiiza, 27, Rehema Masaba, 27, Martin Mugisha, 41, and Hussein Ssentamu, 40.

The accused’s lawyer, Rashid Babu asked the court to release his clients on bail on grounds that they have been in custody for five days.

“The accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Babu said, citing Section 23 of the Constitution. 

 

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