He informed court that of the 23 students he invigilated, the Harriet Ntabazi who sat for the UNEB exams was not the one who was in the dock
A chief examination invigilator, Godwin Baluku, who supervised Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) in 2004, says he is a family friend and did not see former Bundibugyo Woman MP Harriet Ntabazi in the examination room.
Ntabazi, 42, is battling three counts of uttering fake academic papers.
On June 22, Ntabazi was produced before Buganda Road Court and she denied the charges.
On Tuesday, at the same court, presided over by Grade One Magistrate Esther Nahirya, Baluku said he was appointed the chief invigilator at St Mary’s Simbya Secondary School in Bundibugyo.
Baluku said he knew Ntabazi in different capacities. He said he studied with her elder bother Dr Swizin Kyomuhendo from 1986-1987 at Nyakasura School and stressed that as students, he was a regular visitor to their home.
He said Ntabazi was elected area councillor representing two sub-counties. He said later in 2002, she worked in the office of the Bundibugyo Resident District Commissioner as a mobiliser.
He further informed court that he invigilated 23 students and that the Ntabazi who sat for the UNEB exams was not the one who was in the dock.
“I have come to testify before this court that Ntabazi who is in the dock as of now, is not the Ntabazi who sat UNEB 2004 at the St Mary’s Simbya SS centre for UNEB exams as a chief invigilator,” he stated.
“The Ntabazi who sat was a genuine candidate who was in the examination room. The one who sat UNEB the year 2004 was slender and light skinned young lady. And that Ntabazi (the one in the dock) I have known her for so long since 1986 to date. If she had appeared around the examination room I would not have heard any complaints,” Baluku said.
Josephine Babungi, who was contesting for the Bundibugyo woman parliamentary seat against Ntabazi, dragged the latter to the Fort Portal Chief Magistrates’ Court over her academic papers. Babungi later withdrew the case after she beat Ntabazi at the polls.
Hearing of the case was already underway and Baluku had given testimony. Believing that Ntabazi had falsified her documents, Baluku petitioned the Inspectorate of Government to intervene and conduct investigations over the claims.
During the discussions with the IGG office, UNEB files were presented to him to find proof of his appointment. He said the UNEB album files had students’ names and their passport photos and their signatures and upon inspection, he realised that the files had been tempered with.
“I was shocked to find the Harriet Ntabazi passport photo, the one in the dock, appearing in the file,” he said.
Baluku said he was shocked because he had known her for long and if she had turned up for exams, he would have seen her and even exchanged pleasantries with her.
“I remember the candidates who sat basing on the ground that I am a born of Bundibugyo and some of the candidates are familiar with me. Being in the area of service as a teacher, I am too close to the community,” he said.
Nahirya adjourned the case October 18 for cross-examination.
Where it all began
Prosecution alleges that between December 2015 and October 2016, Ntabazi knowingly uttered a false UACE certificate to the Electoral Commission and an investigator from the Inspectorate of Government purporting to have been issued by UNEB whereas not.
Ntabazi is also accused of giving false information to an investigator in the office of the IGG.
Court documents indicate that in October 2016, she fraudulently uttered certificate number A0556422 to Phoebe Tibiwa, an investigator in the office of the Inspectorate of Government.
It further indicates that in December 2015, Ntabazi fraudulently uttered the said certificate to the Electoral Commission for her nomination to contest in the Bundibugyo Woman MP race in 2016.
A chequered history of documents
In 2016, Ntabazi was appointed state minister for trade and industry, but was rejected by the Appointments Committee of Parliament over inconsistencies in her birthdates.
Her curriculum vitae indicated that she was born in 1974, but her documents and an affidavit she swore indicated that she was born in 1979.
At the same time, her academic documents indicated that she was born in 1973.
According to Ntabazi’s lawyer, Inspectorate of Government investigators summoned her at their office on Friday morning claiming they wanted her to provide clarity on some issues, but they instead produced her in court.