Wednesday November 2 2011

Prosecution closes case against editors

(L-R) Monitor editors Henry Ochieng, Daniel

(L-R) Monitor editors Henry Ochieng, Daniel Kalinaki and their lawyer James Nangwala at Makindye Magistrates Court yesterday shortly before prosecution closed its case. PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESAKA. 

By Anthony Wesaka


The State yesterday closed its case against two Daily Monitor editors accused of forging President Museveni’s letter on the Bunyoro/Bafuruki land question. The State yesterday presented its last two witnesses: D/ASP Milton Birungi who is the detective in charge of the case, and Dan Munanura, an officer attached to the Police website and communications department.

Ms Samali Wakoli led the prosecution case against Mr Daniel Kalinaki, the managing editor and Mr Henry Ochieng, the political editor at Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court.

The closure comes more than two years after the journalists were arrested and charged in court, and follows evidence from five prosecution witnesses, including former minister in charge of the Presidency, Beatrice Wabudeya and the private secretary to the President in charge of legal affairs, Ms Joyce Kabatsi.

The editors’ lawyer, Mr James Nangwala, asked for an adjournment to enable him scrutinise the evidence adduced by prosecution and make his submissions in defence of the two journalists. According to Mr Nangwala, he will look at the charge sheet, which cites forgery against his clients and said he would argue that the State has failed to make out its case against the editors to prove the offence of forgery against them.

Presiding Chief Magistrate Joyce Kavuma, asked for written submissions from the defence, despite Mr Nangwala’s preference for an oral submission. Mr Nangwala will file his written submissions by December 9 and the State prosecutor, Ms Wakoli, will then reply by December 22. Court will then sit on January 30 next year to rule on whether the two journalists have a case to answer.

After findings
Should court find that prosecution has not adduced credible evidence that necessitates the editors to defend themselves, it will acquit and discharge them. However, should court find the State has made out its case basing on the evidence on record, then the editors will be required to defend themselves against the allegations and thereafter court passes its final judgment on whether they are guilty or not.

Prosecution alleges that the editors between July 31, 2009, and August 2, 2009, at the Monitor Publications Ltd offices in Kampala, despite publishing the correct content of the letter on the newspaper’s website on July 31, subsequently forged the same letter by way of introducing alterations in the Sunday Monitor of August 2, 2009 titled: ‘Museveni’s letter on Bunyoro land question’.

In the controversial letter, President Museveni was proposing the ring-fencing of elective political positions in Bunyoro for natives who are outnumbered by immigrants. The editors deny the allegations.