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Lawyers Protest New Evidence in Mak Gold Scam Case

The lawyers Humphrey Tumwesigye and Simon Peter Musangala from Musangala Advocates & Solicitors said they were taken by surprise and accused the State Attorney of smuggling in new evidence to pin the accused.
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Lawyers of five suspects in the Makerere gold scam have protested the new evidence provided in court by Canadian businessman Assi Soubhi.

This was during the trial of Stellah Kalungi Dindi, David Kironde, Ronald Kamugisha, Nasser Kibirige and Yazidi Kabonge accused of conning a 57-year-old dealer in rare and precious gemstones Canadian national at City Hall Magistrates Court in Kampala.

They are facing five charges of conspiracy to commit a felony, obtaining money by false pretence, Criminal Trespass, impersonation and forgery. 

 The lawyers Humphrey Tumwesigye and Simon Peter Musangala from Musangala Advocates & Solicitors said they were taken by surprise and accused the State Attorney of smuggling in new evidence to pin the accused.

This was after Anthony Waludyaba, a producer at Uganda Broadcasting Cooperation –UBC one of the witnesses testified at City Hall Court having transcribed audios from Whatsapp conversations in which the accused gold scam suspects are pinned.

Waludyaba presented two DVDs with Video and Audio respectively and transcript of 18 Whatsapp Voice notes that were played in court on Monday.

The video is of a recording in which one of the transactions two of the suspects Nasser Kibirige Kilimana and Ronald Kamugisha are seen testing gold bricks in the Chemistry Laboratory at Makerere University. 

In his testimony, Waludyaba said police had given him Soubhi’s phone from which he extracted the video, audios and Whatsapp photos of a report of Mineral Analysis dated 2th November 2017.

“My role was to retrieve information from the phone. I removed video, short audios and two paged documents. In the video, I saw people testing. But what I hear in the sound, they were testing gold,” Waludyaba told Court.

He added; “On the same phone, I got audio recording which I listened to and transcribed and here is the transcript.” 

Mercy Kobusingye, the State Attorney asked court to allow the video DVD be tendered as evidence. 

But counsel Musangala protested saying the video playing in court had the complainant, Soubhi Soubhi who was defrauded more than 600 million shillings, walking around yet he had told court that he is the one that recorded it.

 “As you can see, the person tendering in the video is supposed to be the one who took it. He remains unknown to this court. But how can a person claim to have recorded the video in which he is in,” Musangala submitted to court. 

Kobusingye, however, said the video had been taken using his (Soubhi’s) phone and that he had never stated he recorded the part in which he appeared.

“It is not the complainant’s fault that we are tendering the CD developed by a witness. We reiterate our earlier position that the same be tendered in as evidence,” Kobusingye said.

The magistrate accepted the video evidence and asked Waludyaba to proceed with this testimony.

Tumwesigye another defense lawyer protested citing that the audio and its transcript are new pieces of evidence that was not presented during the disclosures.

 //Cue in: “State tried to smuggle …

Cue out: …relied on as evidence.”//

Kobusingye conceded that from disclosure, the audio and its transcript was not disclosed and said they would abide by the court’s guidance.

The Grade One Magistrate Beatrice Khainza said she will make a ruling on the matter on Tuesday, March 26.

Soubhi said he was not surprised by the lawyer’s excuses. He, however, said that he had referred to the same audio in his statement recorded. 

//Cue in: “Of course I don’t agree with the lawyers….

Cue out: …these people did to me.”//

Soubhi says he clearly identifies two of the accused in the video since he was part of the video. 

//Cue in: “Yes, of course, I was there…

Cue out: …like other evidence before.”//  

Dr John Wasswa, the Head of Chemistry Department at Makerere University another witness pinned the five suspects of using his laboratory to allegedly test gold without permission.