By Felix Osike, Anne Mugisa & Juliet Nakinga
DR. Sulaiman Kiggundu yesterday failed to secure arrest warrants from Buganda Road Court against Maj. Gen. (rtd) Salim Saleh, his wife Jovia, Lt. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and Charles Mbiire after they failed to turn up in court.
Kiggundu applied to court on Monday to have the four summoned to testify in his defence.
He claimed that they were involved in the transaction between Greenland Bank and a Malaysian company Westmont Land (Bhd) Asia in the illegal purchase of 49% shares of the Uganda Commercial Bank.
Kiggunduâ€™s lawyer Elias Lukwago, of Abaine, Lukwago, Alaka and Spencer Company advocates, tried in vain to have court issue the warrants, saying the four witnesses had deliberately refused to appear despite having been served with witness summons on Tuesday.
He, however, could not prove that his partner, Caleb Alaka, delivered the summons.
Kiggunduâ€™s lawyers battled with the Principal State Attorney, Simon Byamukama Mugyenyi, for over 10 minutes on whether or not the court should issue the arrest warrants.
Byabakama told court the defence was in total disarray and that it had failed to effect summons to the witnesses as ordered by the court.
He said the defence was basing its evidence on hearsay, which was not acceptable in court.
â€œThere must be evidence on record that they were served, acknowledged service and they have disobeyed for them to be compelled to appear in court. He should be able to explain in court
whether they were effectively served,â€ Byabakama told court.
The packed court presided over by the Buganda Road Court chief magistrate, Mrs Catherine Bamugemereire, heard that Alaka had gone missing after serving the summons and that he had switched off his mobile phone.
Lukwago: Your worship there are matters we want to bring to the attention of the court in regard to whether the case should continue... my learned friend Alaka who had personal instructions to proceed with the matter isnâ€™t in court. Your worship, Alaka took out summons from this honourable court yesterday to proceed and serve the witnesses. Your worship, Alaka informed me that he had served Muhoozi with the summons from State House at around 3.00pm. He informed me that he had proceeded and served Jovia Akandwanaho at the Place Supermarket, Kisementi at around 6.00pm. He further informed me he was proceeding to serve Saleh and Mbiire, but as Iâ€™m speaking now I havenâ€™t heard from him and the whole day he hasnâ€™t appeared. I donâ€™t know what happened. But there are certain things he told me, your worship, that when he served papers on Muhoozi at State House, the service was first not accepted. He left the place but subsequently he was called to go back. That aside your worship the witnesses have not turned up. I havenâ€™t seen them in the court so it makes matters difficult to proceed.
Bamugemereire: You said at State House....?
Lukwago: No no no, I make a correction
Bamugemereire: Who at State House did you serve?
Lukwago: Muhoozi, your worship. Iâ€™m making a correction, the service which was not accepted was for Jovia, not Muhoozi.
Bamugemereire: Was the service personal?
Lukwago: Yes. The summons was rejected, but subsequently Alaka was called back.
Bamugemereire: By who?
Lukwago: Jovia. When he was refused, it was by Jovia, and when he was called back I donâ€™t know what happened. In any case the witnesses are not here and I donâ€™t know if they endeavoured to inform court why...If there is no reason given, I have instruction to apply for a warrant of arrest.
Bamugemereire: Was there a return of service?
Lukwago: I donâ€™t know. But they were served.
Bamugemereire: You must prove that you served them.
Lukwago: We..., they were served. It was even reported in the press.
Bamugemereire: Is the press service? Lukwago hesitates.
Bamugemereire: Where is your colleague? Arenâ€™t you in the same chambers?
Lukwago: I have been in the chambers since morning and I havenâ€™t seen him.
Bamugemereire: Is he not on phone?
Lukwago: His telephone is off your worship.
Lukwago asked for a brief adjournment to compel the witnesses to appear. Didas Nkurunziza represented Muhoozi while Barnabas Tumusingize represented Mbiire.
Salehâ€™s lawyer, MacDusman Kabega, sought leave of court to address it on reasons why his clients had failed to appear. However, he was denied audience by court after Kiggunduâ€™s lawyers said Salehâ€™s lawyers had no rights to address court on criminal matters.
Following a brief adjournment and court ordering Salehâ€™s lawyers to tell Kiggunduâ€™s lawyers where the witnesses could be traced, Lukwago, said the witnesses were not effectively served but knew of the matter through press reports.
The parties agreed that the defence resumes on August 13. The New Vision has learnt that Alaka was in Lira yesterday to see a client.