By Kafuma Ahmed
City Lawyer Male Mabirizi has filed a private prosecution against Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine over his academic documents.
According to the charge sheet filed before the Wakiso chief magistrate’s court, Mabirizi accuses Bobi Wine of five counts of giving false information, obtaining registration by false pretence and uttering false documents contrary to the Penal Code Act.
“Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert on the 31st day of May 2017 at Wakiso district Electoral Commission returning officer’s office located at Wakiso, Wakiso town council at 9:56 am, you gave false information to the Electoral Commission returning officer for Wakiso district, a public officer that you were 35 years of age knowing that it was false and you thereby caused the returning officer to nominate you as a candidate for Kyaddondo East constituency Member of Parliament, a thing he/she ought not to have done had he known the truth,” the charge sheet prepared by Mabirizi.
The lawyer also accuses Kyagulanyi of giving false information to the Electoral Commission that he had completed the minimum formal education of Advanced Level standard knowing that it was false.
Kyagulanyi is also accused of obtaining registration by false pretence as well as forging documents, contrary to sections 312 and 351 of the Penal Code Act.
“On the 31st day of May 2017, you knowingly and fraudulently uttered a false document, to wit, a Uganda National Examinations Board letter of verification of results number V0006677 reference number EA/GEN/40 to the Electoral Commission returning officer for Wakiso district.”E
According to Mabirizi, being a male adult Ugandan of sound mind, lawyer by profession and a civically active Uganda who has been closely following the constitutional, human rights and rule of law trends in the country, he recently wrote to the Electoral Commission requesting for Kyagulanyi’s academic documents to satisfy his doubts over the matter over information that he was born in 1982 and sat A –level in 1998.
“The above was peculiar because to me, if the birth was true, it meant that he sat A-level at 16 years, O-level at 13 years, PLE at nine years and joined primary one at two years,”Mabirizi says in his affidavit.
He says that he was also availed with copies of documents including the Makererere University academic transcript and other documents from UNEB in Kyagulanyi’s names.
“Makerere University academic transcript reveals that the accused’s age differs from what he wrote in the nomination document as it shows that he was born on February 1980 yet the accused claimed to be 35 years as of May, 31st, 2017 meaning he was born in 1982,” Mabirizi says.
The lawyer has consequently asked the Wakiso Chief magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against Kyagulanyi so he can answer charges against him in the private prosecution case.
Article 120 (3c) of the Constitution recognizes initiation of prosecution by any private person or authority.
Section 115(a) of the Penal Code Act states that whoever gives to any person employed in the public service any information which he or she knows or believes to be false, intending thereby to cause, or knowing it to be likely that he or she will thereby cause, any person employed in the public service commits a misdemeanor.
Section 312 of the Penal Code Act also states that any person who willfully procures or attempts to procure for himself or herself or any other person any registration, licence or certificate under any law by any false pretence commits a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year.
Any person who knowingly and fraudulently utters a false document commits an offence of the same kind and is liable to the same punishment as if he or she had forged the thing in question and is liable to imprisonment for seven years on conviction.
However, section 42 (iv) and (v) of the Magistrates Courts Act (MCA)stipulates that a magistrate before signing a charge sheet should ensure that the charge brought by way of private prosecution, is not frivolous or vexatious.
Section 196 of the Magistrate Courts Act provides that if any private prosecution is deemed frivolous and vexatious by a Magistrate’s Court, a private prosecutor may be ordered to pay trial costs and a reasonable sum of compensation to the accused person, for the trouble and expense they have been subjected to, as result of the private prosecution.