Jailed Lawyer Male Mabirizi

Lawyer Male Mabirizi, currently in prison, has asked the High Court to cancel Pastor Aloysious Bugingo’s bail. This after Entebbe Chief Magistrate Juliet Nakitende rejected Mabirizi’s request for canceling Bugingo’s bail on January 25.

The High Court Kampala Criminal Division will hear Mabirizi’s application, filed on February 18, next Thursday March 31st, 2022. Mabirizi was arrested on February 22 and is serving a jail term of 18 months for contempt of court.

Bugingo, the lead pastor at House of Prayer Ministries, is accused of committing bigamy and contracting marriage with Suzan Makula Nantaba, breaching sections of the Marriage Act and the Penal Code Act.

On January 21, Bugingo and Makula denied the charges and thereafter applied for bail. Grade One Magistrate Stella Paculal Okwong granted them bail. Mabirizi says Okwong granted Bugingo bail without first disposing of the first application challenging the move by the Director of Public Prosecutions-DPP to take over the case file and the second application asking the court to order Bugingo to pay a security bond of shillings 2 billion and also stop making threats of death and violence against him as a private prosecutor and witness.

Okwong fixed the hearing for the second application on February 28.

She however dismissed both applications on January 21, saying the 1995 Uganda Constitution empowers the DPP to take over any case file initiated by individuals or any other authorities and that she was granting Bugingo and  Nantaba bail because they had presented substantial sureties. The DPP represented by State Attorney Amerit, also did not oppose their bail application.

On January 24,  Mabirizi urged the Entebbe Chief Magistrate Juliet Nakitende to cancel Bugingo’s bail because proceedings of that day where irregular and illegal.

But in her letter to Mabirizi, dated January 25, Nakitende rejected his request. She said the proceedings of January 21 and the decision made thereafter were not irregular or illegal.  “And thus does not warrant the Chief Magistrate to invoke its supervisory powers under Section 221 of the Magistrates Courts Act. Therefore, the request to cancel bail granted to Pastor Bugingo is not granted,” Nakitende said.

Mabirizi has now decided to pursue the issue at the High Court, saying he was not given a fair hearing before making the decision on all his applications at Entebbe court. He adds that Bugingo resides in Nakedde Village, Namayumba Town Council, Wakiso district, far away from the geographical jurisdiction of Entebbe Court and that he will threaten witnesses from cooperating with him as a private prosecutor or with the court.

He wants the High Court to revise the  “above-stated illegalities, anomalies, and  set aside all the impugned proceedings and rulings from 12th January 2022 to date, re-instates criminal Applications No.01 and 03 of 2022 and be heard on their merits.”

The case against Bugingo over his alleged new marriage to Makula was first brought to court by lawyers Mabirizi and Robert Rutaro Muhairwe last December. They instituted private prosecution proceedings against the duo.

However, the DPP took over the case in mid-January amidst resistance from Mabirizi.

The state says Bugingo and Naluswa got married on December 20, 2003. But before the dissolution of their marriage, Bugingo allegedly married Makula under customary law on December 7, 2021 in Kawuku, Katabi town council in Wakiso district.

Makula is accused of contracting a marriage with Bugingo well aware that he is legally married to another woman.

When the case was brought for mention on March 21 before Grade One Magistrate Stella Okwong, State Attorney Timothy  Amerit told court that investigations are still ongoing. The court extended Bugingo and Makula’s bail to April 25.

The prosecution is still gathering scientific evidence against the duo and also summoning witnesses, including people  who attended the alleged traditional marriage ceremony, to record statements at Entebbe Police Station.

Mabirizi on January 21 told court that he was ready to proceed with presenting his case against the duo because he had evidence. However, when DPP took over the case file, Mabirizi said he would not cooperate with the state.

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