The Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court has remanded Kampala District Land Board chairperson David Balondemu to Luzira Prison on charges of obtaining money by false pretense and conspiracy to defraud.
Balondemu on Monday together with Joseph Ibona an Accountant at Bloom Advocates were arraigned before the Grade One Magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko and charged.
They appear on a file with Ronald Kaweesa Tumusiime Kizito alias Denis a Carpenter a resident of Mbogo Kawempe in Kampala and lawyer Eric Geoffrey Mkwe.
The Prosecution alleges that the accused persons and others still at large between the months of November 2022 and April 2023, at Bloom Advocates with intent to defraud, obtained US Dollars 553,000 (2.08 billion shillings) from KG unlimited LLC by falsely pretending that they were going to award it a contract of supplying agricultural drone sprayers and fertilizers from Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries whereas not. They have also been charged with conspiring to defraud.
The prosecution led by State Attorney Ivan Kyazze said inquiries are still ongoing, he prayed for an adjournment and criminal summons for Mkwe. They denied the charges and applied for bail through their seven lawyers.
The lawyers comprised of Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Hassan Kamba, Robert Bautu, John Isabirye, Mukasa Mbidde and Andrew Kibumba,
Alaka said Balondemu has a medical condition and for purposes of confidentiality, he has not revealed it and instead handed a medical form to the Magistrate. The prescription indicates he is due for surgery on November 22nd 2023 this Wednesday.
He added the charges are allegations and the same were made against his client and he was granted bail and he hasn’t skipped bail.
Alaka noted that Balondemu, himself a lawyer, wants to make sure that all allegations are cleared in open court and so is his co-accused who is an Accountant and a young man.
Balondemu presented Engineer Dr John Mbadhwe, the Proprietor of Luna International College his friend and village mate, Alimansi Nagaya a teacher at Kabukye Secondary School and Betty Nakayima the owner of Sunrise Luxuries in Kireka as his sureties.
Meanwhile, Ibona presented his father Benjamin Kaahwa an employee of the Bank of Uganda in the Department of Administration Services, his friends Bernard Arthur Luze and Derrick Wamani as his sureties.
According to Evans Ochieng, he explained to all the sureties the risks involved if the accused absconded from trial and they all seemed to have understood. Therefore, he asked the court to grant them bail, saying charges are bailable and sureties substantial.
However, the prosecution has opposed the bail application, relying on an affidavit by Detective Constable Jorem Okwakol.
In the affidavit, Okwakol said that Balondemu faces similar charges in a different court and that he has higher chances of interfering with ongoing investigations and compromising witnesses, some of whom reportedly work with his co-accused.
The prosecution said all the sureties were not substantial and singularly said Mbadwe had recommended himself as a person with good conduct as if he couldn’t get someone else to recommend him at the Local Council One where he is the chairperson, and at the school where he is the director.
The Magistrate Nankya said she needed time to scrutinize the documents involved in the application and fixed the ruling to next Wednesday since it was already past 6 pm and she had other cases to handle.
Balondemu was sent back to Luzira prison barely two weeks after his release from the same prison, where he had been remanded for 16 days on charges related to defrauding a Korean Investor in a bogus Gold deal of 2.2 billion shillings.