Defence contests case of suspects in fake dollar scam

Sunday October 20 2019

Suspects in the dock at Buganda Road Chief

Suspects in the dock at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court. Photo by Betty Ndagire 

By Betty Ndagire

The lawyers representing four men accused of defrauding a woman of Shs1.7b in a fake dollar scam have intimated to court that the charge sheet is defective.

The accused persons; Patrick Lwassa Mpijja, 27, Steven Bukenya, 19, Ali Mohammed, 26, and Rayan Mukasa, denied two counts of being in possession of implements for forgery and obtaining money by false pretence.

These suspects allegedly conned Ms Nsangi Rebecca, the director of Kajjansi Progressive Secondary School in Entebbe, Wakiso District under pretext that they were going to buy chemicals for erasing stamps from US dollars that they would later remit to her.

Their case was on Friday scheduled for hearing when defence lawyer, Derrick Bazekeeta in his submission said that prosecution needs to rectify the charge sheet as it does not show a place where the offence was committed and whether Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court has jurisdictions to hear it.

Mr Bazekeeta said when he perused through the particulars of the two counts, it’s alleged that the offences were committed in Kampala which is a broad statement and not closed to Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court.

"It would be wrong if the matter proceeds today (Friday) even with one witness until the charge sheet is regularised to validate the procedures," Mr Bazekeeta said.

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He also explained that the prosecution complied with the disclosure orders to defence belatedly which makes it even much harder to hear a single witness.

The defence contested the hearing following prosecutor, Mr Ivan Kyazze’s insistence that the hearing needs to proceed with at least one witness who is a student and needs to return to school to concentrate on her books.

After hearing the submission, the trial magistrate Marion Mangeni further remanded the accused to Luzira prison after advising the prosecutor to go look at the validity of the charge sheet, before she can rule on whether court has jurisdiction to handle the case or not.

Prosecution contends that the accused persons and others still at large between the months of July and August, 2019 at Kajjansi, Entebbe and Kampala without lawful authority had in their possession papers intending to resemble and pass as special papers such as provided and used for making US dollars.

On the count of obtaining money by false pretence it is alleged that still the accused and others between May and August this year with intent to defraud obtained Shs1.7b from Ms Nsangi purporting that they were going to buy chemicals for erasing stamps on US dollars.

bndagire@ug.nationmedia.com

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