Musumba, Mawanda to pay own lawyers

By Vision Reporter

Former minister, Isaac Musumba, Igara east MP, Michael Mawanda and businessman Mathias Magoola have hired lawyers to handle their case in India.

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 By Joyce Namutebi                                         

Former  minister, Isaac Musumba, Igara east MP, Michael Mawanda and businessman Mathias Magoola have hired lawyers to handle their case in India.
“They have hired lawyers from India to deal with the issue of Videocon,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume said.
He said the ministry had provided consular services to the three Ugandans, but they (trio) are paying the lawyers.
For over three weeks now Musumba and his colleagues are still in India over claims that they attempted to extort $20m (sh50b) from directors of Videocon India, an electronics company.
Following the incident, Musumba has filed a case against a state in India for violation of his rights and for restraining him from leaving the country.
When contacted, however, he neither denied nor confirmed the new development. He however stressed that he is working to ensure that the truth comes out.
“I am doing everything possible to ensure that the truth is known to the whole world because it is important to me and the people we are with for posterity,” he said.
He reiterated that he cannot leave India until he has evidence clearing his name. He declined to name the state he had filed the case against.
Meanwhile India Mumbai Mirror has reported that Uganda government has now distanced itself from them saying they were not in India on official business.
“The Government of Uganda has written to the Indian High Commission saying its three nationals were in India on private business, and the government had no knowledge of the same,” it said.
The paper, however, says the police have not yet arrested the trio as one of them has a diplomatic passport, while another holds an official passport. “It was thus necessary to check whether they had diplomatic immunity. Mumbai Police had informed the Ministry of External Affairs about the issue.”
Recently, Uganda’s international affairs state minister Henry Okello Oryem told a committee of Parliament that India’s foreign affairs ministry had asked Uganda’s ministry of Foreign Affairs to verify whether the trio’s passports are genuine, whether they are entitled to them and also whether they enjoy diplomatic immunity, which information was duly submitted.
Musumba, Mawanda and Magoola face jail terms in India after the Attorney General Peter Nyombi wrote back to the Indian authorities clarifying that Musumba did not enjoy diplomatic immunity despite holding a diplomatic passport.
A source at the Ministry told New Vision recently that the Government of Uganda through the Attorney General had communicated this position to their colleagues in India.
“He was the only one with the diplomatic passport which he had as a former Minister but then he was in India because of a private business so there is no way he can be immune from prosecution,” the Attorney General allegedly advised.
A highly placed source at the Foreign Affairs had told Sunday Vision that the Indian authorities had communicated part of the evidence to their colleagues in Uganda and it was because of the strength that Government had been advised not to negotiate the return of the three but rather facilitate their acquisition of independent lawyers.
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