Hearing of Corruption Case Against Mbarara Magistrate Begins

4477 Views Mbarara, Uganda

In short
During cross examination by both state prosecutor Wycliffe Mutabire and defense council Geoffrey Kandeebe today Lillian Nalubwaama pinned Rukundo of how she handed over a bribe of 500, 000 shillings to him in his chambers in order to speed up hearing of her case.

The Anti-Corruption court Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa has started hearing a bribery case brought against his worship Caleb Rukundo.  The session is being held at Mbarara Chief Magistrate’s court. 
 
The state has lined up 11 witnesses to testify in a corruption case brought against the former Mbarara grade II Magistrate Caleb Rukundo.
 
The 11 witnesses include the Chief Magistrate Mbarara Phillip Odoki, Patrick Talisuna Ngereza the grade one magistrate Isingiro district, detective Turyasingura and Rashid Sentongo attached to the IGG office.
 
Others are Julie Etetu a police woman who searched Lillian Nalubwama whom the IGG used to lay a trap that led to the arrest of his worship Caleb Rukundo.
 
Caleb Rukundo was arrested on 4th April, 2012 in his chambers at Mbarara chief magistrate’s court by detectives from the Inspectorate of Government IGG Mbarara area.
 
Prosecution led by the State Attorney Wycliffe Mutabire alleges that Rukundo extracted a bribe of 500.000 from Lillian Nalubwama in order to have her case handled faster before she retires from the judicial service.
 
Lillian Nalubwaama was battling a civil suit she brought before Magistrate Rukundo in 2011 against Peter Muhoozi and family of Katete Mbarara municipality. The two were wrangling over ownership of a house and land.
 
During cross examination by both state prosecutor Wycliffe Mutabire and defense council Geoffrey Kandeebe today Lillian Nalubwaama pinned Rukundo of how she handed over a bribe of 500, 000 shillings to him in his chambers in order to finalize her case.
 
Nalubwama further told court that magistrate Rukundo had demanded for 1,000,000 shillings to dispose of the civil suit in her favour but she had to negotiate up to 700, 000 shilling to be paid in two installments.
 
 Nalubwama, a qualified nurse, stunned court when she disclosed that the bribe negotiation was done in one of the hotels in Mbarara town with Magistrate Rukundo after work and thereafter she reported the matter to the regional IGG Samson Kitutu to have him netted.
 
Kitutu later offered her the 500, 000 shillings which she took to Rukundo to his chambers on 4th April, 2012 leading to his arrest by IGGs detectives who were on standby.
 
But the two other witnesses Phillip Okoki and Patrick Talisuna collaborated Nalubwama’s testimony, they testified that the detectives only discovered 300, 000 shillings in Rukundo’s cabin.  
 
The magistrates told court that despite a thorough search in the office and Lililian Nalubwama's bag, the balance of 200, 000 shillings was never found. 
The accused Caleb Rukundo has also maintained his innocence on the bribery allegations.
 
Rukundo’s defense lawyer Geoffrey Kandeebe of Ntambirweki Kandeebe advocates has prayed to the presiding magistrate to instead find Lillian Nalubwaama guilty of stealing the 200,000 shillings exhibit purportedly used to trap the accused.
 
Magistrate Irene Akankwasa has meantime adjourned the court hearing to Friday to enable other witnesses to testify before she makes a ruling on the matter.