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Graphics designer testifies In Mak gold scandal case

Timothy Waira, a 25-year-old motion and still graphics designer at Ascenture Limited testifying in Court today

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Timothy Waira, a 25-year-old graphics designer has presented a report of his analysis of a video in which a gold scam suspect filmed in Makerere University Physical Chemistry lab allegedly testing gold. 

Waira, who works for Ascenture Limited, in Kamwokya, was the last defense witness in a case in which five suspects Stella Kalungi Dindi, Richard Kamugisha, David Kironde, Yazidi Kabonge Wamala and Nasser Kibirige are jointly accused of selling seven kilograms of fake gold to Assi Soubhi, which they did not have and defrauding him a total of US$ 191,100 (600 million Shillings).

Early this month, Kamugisha, a suspect filmed in Makerere University Physical Chemistry lab allegedly testing gold denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the six charges slapped against him including conspiracy to commit a felony, obtaining money by false pretence, criminal trespass, impersonation, and forgery and uttering out a false document to wit, a gold assay report.

As part of Kamugisha’s defence, Waira was procured to give an expert view based on analysis of both the video claiming the masked man was Richard Kamugisha and the photos of the same.

In his submission on Tuesday to court on presided over by Grade One Magistrate Beatrice Khainza, this afternoon, Waira said he had received instructions from his employer Jeff Syambi who handed him a video and four photos of one of the accused Richard Kamugisha to examine them and establish whether they have any similarity with the sample video provided regarding the masked man.

“I carefully and closely looked at the video using Adobe after effects application software which allows the said video into picture form and also allows the said video to be played in a slow-motion from close identification of the common features of the masked man,” reads in part, Waira’s report tendered in court.

According to Waira, analysis of the pictures and the sample video presented significant differences.

He says every video is made up of a number of photos which he says only takes a technical experience to unpack it into image files.

“The ears of the man in photography and that in a video are different. For instance, the structure of the right ear of the masked man has a lining which is very visible whereas picture ‘B’ (of Kamugisha) provided showing the right ear doesn’t show any crossed line in sample pictures generated from the video,” Waira told court.

He also told court that the skin complexion of the masked man was slightly darker compared to the pictures he assessed.

“The masked man in the video appears to have sided feet which can’t be seen in the pictures provided looking at both pictures,” Waira explained.

When cross-examined by Loy Kalungi, the state prosecutor, Waira denied having any formal qualification to do the job. He told court he only holds an S.6 Certificate but had attempted to pursue his Diploma in Art and Design at Kyambogo University which he never completed.  

Defence lawyer Humphrey Tumwesigye said to be an expert, it doesn’t only mean one must have gone through formal education. “You can become an expert through experience,” he told court.

Prosecution alleges that on November 25, 2017, Kamugisha together with others still at large pretended to be a technician at Makerere Physical Chemistry Laboratory and conducted tests of gold analysis, received money and issued a document of proof of test of seven gold bars, which would later turn out fake.

Soubhi Muhammed Assi said he was impressed by the state prosecutor and the magistrate on how they closed out the oral submissions. He insists that the man in a mask is Richard Kamugisha who he saw himself during the gold tests.

He described as a joke for the defence side to bring a mere graphics designer as an IT expert to testify against his video evidence.

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