My signature was forged, Mubajje tells UMSC meet

Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, the Mufti of Uganda addresses Muslims during the Idd-Ul-Adhuha prayers at Gaddafi Mosque on June 28, 2023. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • Several sources, on and off record, confirmed the development, among other things, that transpired in the meeting that lasted more than 10 hours. Several delegates were blocked from the meeting.

The unsettling turmoil triggered by the sale of Muslim properties reached a critical juncture during Thursday’s closed-door meeting, with the mufti of Uganda alleging that his signature authorising the multibillion loans was forged.

Several sources, on and off record, confirmed the development, among other things, that transpired in the meeting that lasted more than 10 hours. Several delegates were blocked from the meeting.

With some of the delegates in attendance accusing Sheikh Ramadhan Shaban Mubajje of betraying the Muslim community by selling their properties, the mufti defended himself by alleging that the details on the interest were fraudulently appended to the contract after he signed.

Mufti Mubajje directed the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) lawyers to commence investigations into how they ended up signing documents with an interest rate of 12 percent.

This, he said, has bloated the sum owed from Shs7b to Shs19b. He revealed that they will exhaust the appeals process but are also ready to negotiate with Mr Justus Kyahabwa, barring the interest rate issue.

Under the bus

According to Mr Harunah Kisangaki, a member of the general assembly, who raised the question on the status of Muslim properties, Sheikh Mubajje denied being involved in most of the deals. He said his signature was used without his consent by the technical team by then.

“I was surprised for a big institution UMSC, with several Muslim professors signing documents with an interest rate that contradicts the Muslim religion yet the Islamic teaching prohibits Muslims from being involved in any business that requires interest,” he said.

Mr Kasangaki asked the 10th executive, which authorised the selling of the Sembabule land on the allegations of being dormant, to explain how they signed a deal with 12 percent interest. Sheikh Mubajje responded that the contract he signed did not contain those details, adding that the secretary-general by then Mr Ramadhan Mugalu was behind all the alleged forgery.

Sheikh Mubajje reportedly said: “My duty was to sign as the head of the institution, but the technical team is responsible for all those details...adding that out of the two agreements he signed only one of Shs3.5b.”

Blame game

Sheikh Mubajje, according to Mr Kasangaki, insisted that the former secretary general, Mr Mugalu is responsible for the mess of signing documents that bound UMSC to pay interest, alleging that since Mr Mugalu was dismissed from UMSC, he still holds two office stamps illegally.

However, Mr Mugalu refuted the allegations.

“According to Muslim teaching, when there are issues of defamation, the victim has to come out and defend him or herself. I have directed my lawyers to start pursuing a defamation case because I am innocent, and my name has been tarnished,” he said.

Mr Mugalu added that he had started consulting experts to investigate the allegations of forging Mufti Mubajje’s signature.

“It’s not true that Mufti Mubajje did not sign the agreement; he knew everything and details in the agreement,” he said.

 Mr Mugalu accused Mufti Mubajje of blackmail, saying it is unfortunate because they have previously worked together harmoniously, and he regarded  the mufti as a father figure.

 Mr Abas Muluubya Ssekyanzi, the UMSC secretary general, told journalists that the executive explained all the details and the status of the Muslim properties and that steps are being taken to recover the debt.

“We urge the Muslim community to remain calm as we forge a way forward to save the Muslim properties and investigate the details,” he said. Sheikh Muluubya also noted that the meeting agreed to follow the law and get justice for both parties.

Sheikh Muluubya added that out of 264 members of the general assembly, 239 attended the meeting after about 23 members were blocked.

He explained that the members who were blocked from attending the meeting had violated the rules and regulations governing UMSC.