The Law Development Centre Court has discharged National Unity Platform (NUP) President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu on charges of obtaining registration by false pretense at Makerere University.
The Court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Augustine Alule has discharged Kyagulanyi on the criminal charges that were instituted against him by Male Mabirizi as a Private Prosecutor accusing him of having acquired a Diploma in Music Dance and Drama fraudulently.
Mabirizi indicated that Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, was only 20 years old by the time of his admission on October 21st, 2000 which was contrary to the Makerere University Prospectus. The Prospectus set the minimum age for mature entry at 25 years or for one to have completed formal education at least five years prior to the year of admission.
But according to Mabirizi, this said was not the case with Kyagulanyi adding that there was proof that he (Kyagulanyi) was born on February 12th 1980, and studied at Kololo Senior Secondary School and Kitante Hill School based on the records that he had personally used to obtain the contentious registration and admission at Makerere University.
Subsequently, Mabirizi as the complainant asked the court to summon Kyagulanyi to appear and answer to charges saying that he had fraudulently studied on government sponsorship and accordingly obtained registration by false pretense, an offense that attracts one-year jail term if found guilty.
However, the case was taken over by the Director of Public Prosecutions, and State Attorney Joy Apolot in the previous session tendered a withdrawal form dated December 16th, 2021 showing that the DPP Jane Frances Abodo had withdrawn charges against him.
However, Mabirizi objected to the withdrawal saying that the law doesn’t allow the DPP to withdraw charges commenced by an individual or an authority without the consent of the person who initiated them.
Court heard that on a number of occasions when Mabirizi went to court and the file was not thereafter the case had been taken over by the DPP, he realized that she was not interested in prosecuting Kyagulanyi and on January 4th 2022 he wrote a letter asking the court to order the DPP to return his case in vain.
Mabirizi thus asked the court not to endorse the withdrawal of the charges on grounds that it’s unconstitutional for the DPP to withdraw privately instituted charges without consent from the one who initiated the proceedings and also for not giving reasons as to why she is withdrawing.
However, in his ruling on Monday, Magistrate Alule noted that Mabirizi lost the right to represent himself when the DPP took over the case, and therefore he shouldn’t have written his January 4th 2022 letter seeking the return of the case.
He added that the Constitution gives the DPP powers to take over all criminal matters in the country and to exercise this power judiciously and therefore, Mabirizi failed to prove that the actions of taking over his case were irrational and illegal.
Further, Alule has ruled that the DPP is an Independent government institution that acted within the powers given to them by withdrawing the charges and consequently, he has endorsed the withdrawal and formally discharged Kyagulanyi of the charges against him.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Mabirizi has said that he has many options after this decision including reinstituting them again before LDC Court arguing that he gathered sufficient evidence to incriminate Kyagulanyi, taking it to Buganda Road Court or to appeal against Alule’s decision in East African Court of Justice.
According to Mabirizi, he will be looking through, among these options to see what next.
This is not the only criminal case that Mabirizi has so far filed against Kyagulanyi.
In 2020, when Kyagulanyi expressed interest to stand for Presidency, Mabirizi filed a case at Buganda Road Court ,and another at Wakiso Magistrates Court accusing him of giving false information about his age to the Parliament of Uganda and Electoral Commission Returning Officer respectively.
He also instituted a case against Kyagulanyi at Buganda Road Court for having lied to officials at the Immigration about his age when he was processing his passport.
Last month, Mabirizi also instituted charges against Kyagulanyi in Nakawa Magistrates Court accusing him of having acquired a driving permit unlawfully.
The anti-Kyagulanyi cases started when Mabirizi read information on Parliament Website indicating that he was born on February 2nd 1982 when his official academic papers show that he was born in 1980.
He has since then filed several cases against him, most of which end up being taken over by the DPP with the exception of the one currently pending at Nakawa Court.
But on his part, Kyagulanyi’s lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima has welcomed the court decision saying that the DPP saw that Mabirizi had no evidence against his client and decided to lose interest in the matter. URN