Lawyer’s bid to block sh1.5b fraud case fails

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Court had issued several criminal summons against him, but he did not appear in court pending determination of his case at the civil division of the High Court

A Kampala lawyer, Paul Wanyoto Mugoya, who has been hanging on court’s determination of his application, could be arrested any time. 

Mugoya, accused of kidnapping and defrauding South Korean businessmen of sh1.5b in a gold scam, had sought to block his trial in the Anti-Corruption Court. 

The court had issued several criminal summons against him, but he did not appear in court pending determination of his case at the civil division of the High Court in Kampala. 

Justice Lydia Mugambe dismissed his application yesterday, saying she cannot interfere with the work of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). 

“I cannot interfere with the constitutional powers of DPP to prosecute people,” the judge ruled. 

Mugoya is charged along with Assistant Commissioner of Police, Siraje Bakaleke, the managing director of Eye Power Engineering Company Ltd, Samuel Nabeta Mulowooza, 30, and six other Policemen. 

The Policemen are Robert Munezero, 31, Innocent Nuwagaba, 32, Robert Ray Asiimwe, 37, Junior Amanya, 28, Gastavas Babu, 27, and Kenneth Zirintusa, 26. 

All the officers were recently suspended from their stations, pending investigations. The accused are also battling charges of abuse of office and embezzlement. 

Bakaleke was formerly the political education chief under the Police’s Directorate of Political Commissariat. Prior to this development, he served as the Regional Police Commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police – South. 

Mugoya had sought to block his trial, contending that sanctioning of charges against him by the DPP without a formal complaint or sufficient evidence to support the charge is illegal and unconstitutional. 

“This infringes on my freedom to a fair trial, to practice and or carry on lawful occupation or profession, trade, and to do business, to just and fair treatment guaranteed under the Constitution,” he contended. 

According to Wanyoto, the actions of Police and the DPP to instigate, institute and sanction charges of embezzlement of McKinley Resource Company Ltd funds, where he is a co-director, was unfair. 

“The resolution excluding me from running and operating my company affairs and accounts to date, are oppressive, unfair, irrational, illegal and an abuse of administrative power,” Mugoya contended. 

In his affidavit, Wanyoto states that he with Jan Seung Kwon, Park Seung Hoon, and Ha Dong Sub are directors of McKinley Resources. 

Mugoya says unknown to him, disagreement ensued between his Korean business counterparts, and before the same could be amicably settled, the Koreans were arrested and detained at Katwe Police Station on allegations of terrorism and money laundering. 

Mugoya says he was later informed of the arrest by Seung Hoon and he rushed to the Police station, where they agreed that he withdraws $415,000 (sh1.5b) from the company’s account at Diamond Trust Bank. 

Mugoya says he also secured the release of the three South Koreans on Police bond at $30,000 (sh114m) in legal fees, as agreed. 

“Upon their release, my business counterparts, agreed to in the meantime temporarily leave Uganda for Dubai and return later to continue with our investment plan,” he purports. 

Prosecution alleges that the Policemen and others still at large between February 4 and 7, 2018 in Kampala, committed arbitrary acts by causing the illegal arrest and confinement of the South Koreans and defrauded them of sh1.5b.       

NewVision.co.ug

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