MASAKA- Masaka Grade One Magistrate has rejected academic papers submitted by the NRM flag bearer for the Bukoto South constituency, Hajj Muhammad Muyanja Mbabaali, to Uganda National Examinations Board.
The Magistrate, Ms Happy Ann Kyomuhendo, who presided over court last week, said Mr Mbabaali’s academic documents were not representative enough to prove that he went to school.
According to court records, Mr Mbabaali sued Mr Ponsiano Matovu, a resident of Senya village, Kkingo Sub-county in Lwengo District on July 19, 2015, accusing him of defamation.
This came after Matovu was quoted in a tabloid claiming that Hajj Mbabaali had paid Shs200 million to one of the top officials of Uganda National Examinations Board to certify his academic documents.
In his defence, Mr Mbabaali presented his said academic documents before court, including a letter of admission to mature age entry to Makerere University, a letter from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), which certifies a Diploma in Information Technology he obtained from Uganda Pentecostal University and another letter from the Electoral Commission (EC) that permitted him to stand as a candidate during NRM primaries.
However, all these were rejected by the defence team that pleaded that the authors of the documents appear in court and defend them, rather than the owner.
Hajj Mbabaali declined to reveal the course he enrolled for under the mature entry scheme. Defence lawyers led by Asuman Basalirwa and Robert Kalule told court that Mbabaali had earlier forged papers in previous elections and prayed to court to handle the matter very carefully.
Ms Kyomuhendo asked prosecution led by David Katungye to present the Makerere University academic registrar, officials from NCHE and EC to prove whether they authored copies of the documents which Mbabaali possesses.
Hajj Mbabaali has since last year been convincing the electorate in Bukoto South Constituency that he has all the required academic qualifications to reclaim his seat, currently occupied by DP’s Mathias Nsubuga.
Prosecution also presented before court a Kampala-based journalist, who reports for a local tabloid, Lawrence Mugerwa, as its witness given the fact that his byline appeared on the said story in which Mr Mbabaali insists he was defamed. However, Mr Mugerwa disowned some content of the story, saying in his original text, he never included the amount of money and blamed his editor for this error.
The case was adjourned to March 14, when prosecution is expected to present its three other witnesses.