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Lawyer Mabirizi asks for halt to proceedings against Pastor Bugingo

Bugingo in court

Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lawyer Male Mabirizi has asked Entebbe Chief Magistrate Juliet Nakitende to halt criminal proceedings against Pastor Aloysius Bugingo and Susan Makula Nantaba.

In December Mabirizi and Robert Rutaro Muhairwe instituted private prosecution proceedings against Bugingo and Makula for Bigamy. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions-DPP took over the case despite resistance from Mabirizi.

In his application filed on April 20, Mabirizi wants Nakitende to ask Grade One Magistrate Stella Paculal Okwong to stop hearing proceedings against Bugingo and Makula. He says his application challenges proceedings starting from January 12.

He wants the High Court to set aside all the disputed proceedings and rulings from 12th January 2022 to date, re-instate criminal Applications, and be heard on their merits.”

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

On January 21, Bugingo and Makula denied the charges and applied for bail. Grade One Magistrate Okwong granted them bail.

But  Mabirizi says Okwong granted Bugingo bail without first disposing of the first application challenging the move by the DPP to take over the case file and the second application asking the court to order Bugingo to pay a security bond of 2 billion shillings and also stop making threats of death and violence against him as a private prosecutor and witness.

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

She however dismissed both applications on January 21, saying the 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.

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

Mabirizi decided to pursue the issue at the High Court, saying he was not given a fair hearing before Okwong made 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.

The state says Bugingo and Naluswa got married on December 20, 2003. But before the dissolution of their marriage, Bugingo 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.

The court extended Bugingo and Makula’s bail to April 25.



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