UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Business tycoon, Christine Nabukeera, the owner of Nabukeera Plaza, has failed to convince the High Court to dismiss evidence presented by police witnesses which alleges that she broke into her tenant’s shop and stole merchandise and money.
The accused, Nabukeera, appeared at Buganda Road Court on Wednesday last week, alongside her son, Vincent Mawanda, facing charges of breaking into (the complainant) John Kabanda’s shop located at Nana Center and stealing 43 bags of shoes worth USh350 million, USh172 million in cash, and all his business documents.
John Kabanda, who doubles as the Chairman of Kampala Traders Body and the Kampala New Generation Traders Association, and his team accuse Kampala-based businesswoman, Christine Nabukeera, of maliciously and unlawfully removing the door from his shop on July 28, 2020 and stealing money, merchandise and legal documents over failure to pay rent arrears that accumulated during the Covid lockdown.
In her defence, Nabukeera and her son accuse Kabanda of mobilising fellow tenants not to pay rent for the months spent during the period of COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
On March 22, 2023, Kabanda introduced three additional police witnesses to the case which has been ongoing for the last two years.
Detective Corporal Henry Mandela, Corporal Martin Waluba, and another colleague, were introduced by Kabanda, to add to evidence that was previously presented by seven other witnesses in earlier court proceedings, accusing Nabukeera of breaking into Kabanda’s shop.
The defendant’s lawyer, Macdusman Kabega, objected to the police witnessesses presenting evidence against Christine Nabukeera and her son on the grounds the witnesses were presented at the last moment to patch up gaps that were left by earlier witnesses.
Kabega argued that when Kabanda handed in the exhibits and the earlier witnesses’ statements, the statements of the current three witnesses were not presented.
He further argued that all the statements that were presented in the earlier court proceedings were made two years ago, but the statements of the current three police witnesses were made on March 21, 2023, only one day prior to the hearing scheduled the following day, March 22, 2023.
Kabega added that the manner in which the complainant abruptly brought the three additional statements is illegal, and asked Chief Magistrate Sanula Namboozo, to dismiss them and their evidence.
The government lawyer, Allan Mucunguzi, responded that it is lawful for the complainant to bring additional evidence to support his case, and argued that the defendant should have asked for more time to examine the statements presented instead of asking the magistrate to dismiss the new evidence against them.
The Chief Magistrate Sanula Namboozo agreed with lawyer Mucunguzi, and said she will only make her final judgement after justly listening to both sides. She ruled that the court will listen to the three police witnesses presented by the complainant.
She also gave Nabukeera’s team one month to go through the evidence presented against them so that there is transparency, and adjourned the hearing for April 27, 2023.
Speaking to journalists after Court sitting, Kabanda jubilating said, “I thank Court for standing with the poor. Nabukeera always use money to bribe judges and give fake ruling and it has been the subject today but we were vigilant and defied justice Kamasanyu and we are contented with this new magistrate will give us justice.”
Backstory on John Kabanda
On July 30, 2020, John Kabanda, who is chairman of two city traders’ associations and himself a Kampala businessman, was arrested and remanded to Kitalya Prison on allegations of stoning police officers during a traders’ demonstration a day earlier.
The demonstration was to appeal to Kabaka of Buganda and President Yoweri Museveni to intervene in the traders’ woes, accusing arcade owners of refusing to open their arcades over Covid-19-related rent arrears.
However, Kabanda claims the charges against him were trumped up after he spoke out against the city businesswoman Christine Nabukeera.
He had gone to the Central Police Station to file a criminal case against Nabukeera, on accusations the landlord removed the door from his shop and stole his merchandise raising from failure to pay rent arrears accumulated during the lockdown.
However, while at the police station, he was arrested and charged on four counts, including causing grievous harm or preventing arrest and common nuisance.
The prosecution asserted that on July 29, 2020 at Nabugabo in Kampala district, the accused businessman and others unlawfully wounded or did any grievous harm to police constables Ekip Sebunya and and Brian Ojera by stoning them in the course of executing their duties.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released on a cash bond of USh1 million, with each of his sureties executing USh10 million, non-cash.
About Christine Nabukeera
Distinctively known as one of Kampala’s most successful property moguls, Christine Nabukeera is a wealthy entrepreneur and sibling of renowned property owners in Kampala namely John Sebalamu, John Bosco Muwonge, Paul Lubega, and Haruna Segawa.
Ms Christine owns prominent properties such as Kisekka Auto Center Plaza, Victor Plaza in Kikuubo, Nana Arcade in Nabugabo, Nabukeera plaza and many others.
The family is known to own a significant part of Kampala City.
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