Court orders prisons OC to return Mabirizi’s documents

City lawyer Male Mabirizi in court. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Criminal Division High Court Judge Isaac Muwata, has ordered the officer in charge of Kitalya prisons, Hussein Aikomundu to return all the documents he confiscated from the jailed city lawyer, Male Mabirizi. The documents relate to Mabirizi’s bigamy case against Pastor Aloysius Bujjingo and his fiancé Susan Makula.

He issued the orders when the case in which Mabirizi wants the High Court to cancel the bail of Pastor Bujjingo and Makula came up for hearing on Thursday. In 2021, Mabirizi instituted criminal charges against Pastor Bujjingo, the Director of House of Prayer Ministries and Makula accusing them of contracting marriage in breach of the Marriage Act. In his suit, Mabirizi argued that Bujjingo married Teddy Naluswa on December 20th, 2003.

He however argued that before the dissolution of their marriage, Pastor Bujjingo went ahead and married Makula under the customary law on December 7th 2021 in Kawuku Katabi, which he says was illegal. The Director of Public Prosecutions-DPP later took on the case. The Entebbe Chief Magistrate’s court released the couple on bail.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the DPP to take over the matter, Mabirizi decided to challenge the decision. Mabirizi also filed an application in which he said that if the court wants to release Bujjingo and Makula on bail, the Pastor should deposit a security bond of Shillings 2 billion. He also asked the court to order the Pastor to stop threatening him with death and violence as a witness and private prosecutor.

The court went ahead to release the couple on bail and dismissed Mabirizi’s application on grounds that bail is under the discretion of the judicial officer. Court also argued that the law empowers the DPP to take over and continue all criminal proceedings.

Dissatisfied with the dismissal, Mabirizi appealed the decision before the High Court where he asked the court to cancel the couple’s bail since he didn’t get a fair hearing. When the matter came before Justice Muwata on Thursday, Mabirizi informed the judge that he was not ready to proceed because all his documents relating to the matter were confiscated by Aikomundu on his way to court.

He explained that Aikomundu confiscated the documents while searching him for the March 31st 2022 letter that he wrote to the Cabinet asking them to constitute a tribunal to drop Justice Musa Ssekaana as a High Court Judge.  Mabirizi noted that in the said letter, he petitioned the Inspectorate of Government and the Judicial Service Commission to help remove Justice Ssekaana from office for alleged incompetence when he directed that he should never file any case in the Civil Division.

He revealed that the two government agencies didn’t help him yet Ssekaana continued receiving cases against him in the same court, which eventually resulted in his conviction and subsequent sentencing to 18 months in Kitalya prisons. Mabirizi told Justice Muwata that Aikomundu is persecuting him because of his letter, adding that he searched him five times before allowing him to proceed to court.

He asked the court to direct Aikomundu to return his documents and provide him with the internet to do more research to enable him to argue his case properly. The State Attorney Timothy Amerit raised no objection to Mabirizi’s submission.

Justice Muwata agreed with Mabirizi’s prayers and issued orders directing Aikomundu to return his documents to enable the case to proceed on April 21st, 2022. When asked why Mabirizi’s documents were confiscated, the Uganda Prisons Services Spokesperson Frank Baine explained that before inmates get out of prison, they are thoroughly checked to establish what they are carrying. He believes that the OC could have confiscated Mabirizi’s documents because of his failure to hand them in time for screening.

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