Ugandan is preparing to hire a legal team to defend former foreign affairs state minister Isaac Musumba in an extortion case in India.
By John Odyek
The Ugandan Government is preparing to hire a legal team to defend former foreign affairs state minister Isaac Musumba in an extortion case in India.
State minister for foreign affairs Henry Okello-Oryem told Vision Online that they were in contact with the Indian Government Director of Public Prosecution to see whether a case is preferred against Musumba and two others.
Musumba according to Indian media reports said he was in India to represent his client, Mathias Magoola, who was allegedly fleeced of his mining license by Videocon.
Musumba said Videocon purchased a mining and concession license worth $37m from Magoola in 2009 but the Indians never paid a single penny to his client.
They were held in their hotel together with MP Michael Mawanda, who claims the two merely asked him to escort them to lay their claim.
Oryem said; "The Indian DPP will take a decision on whether to prefer charges and communicate to us. We will get them a team of lawyers to represent them from then."
Others sources the New Vision spoke to yesterday said that the bid to secure Musumba' s freedom had been frustrated by his (Musumba's) insistence that he has not been arrested by the Indian Police, and that he would not leave India before securing his client's money.
A source said Musumba's passports and travel documents have been confiscated and that means there is a legal problem.
"The Indian Police say they can't release him because he is under investigation but Musumba is denying that he has problem," said the source who requested anonymity.
Musumba and the two are under investigation by Indian police in Mumbai, for allegedly attempting to extort a bribe of US$20m (sh50bn) from an Indian firm.
State minister for foreign affairs Asuman Kiyingi said they had discussed with the Indian government to see that Musumba and Mawanda were released from jail. "They have been released from prison but are being held in a hotel," Kiyingi revealed.
Kiyingi said they had dispatched information asked by the Indian ministry of foreign affairs officials which wanted to know about their passports and status. Kiyingi said they replied stating that Musumba was entitled to a diplomatic passport which is red in color while Mawanda was entitled to an official passport which was green in colour.
"They (Indian ministry of foreign affairs) also wrote to the Indian High Commission in Uganda asking how they obtained visas to go to India. They have also written to Interpol in Uganda asking them to explain how Musumba was in possession of the international arrest warrants for the Indian nationals," Kiyingi said.
Kiyingi said they were waiting for replies after they submitted all the information requested by their counterparts.
According to the Indian police, the three visited the corporate office of Videocon Industries on Thursday afternoon and claimed they had an international arrest warrant for the arrest of the company's senior staff.
Mumbai Mirror quotes a senior police officer as saying they met officials at the corporate office and said that they had come from Uganda to arrest four directors of the company against whom Interpol had issued an international warrant.
The officer added that Musumba and his team told the office staff at Videocon to inform the four directors about their visit and get in touch with them at the Trident Hotel, where they were staying.
A legal team from Videocon met them at the hotel. When they asked about the purpose of their visit, the Ugandans told them they would settle the matter if the four directors paid them 20 million dollars, or else they would be arrested. The legal team informed their office of the trio's demands, upon which Marven Fernandes, one of the directors, approached the police and registered a case against them.
According to Mumbai Mirror, the Mumbai police registered a case of extortion, fraudulent removal or concealment of property and common intention against them.
Musumba out of prison but still held in India