Kampala, Uganda | GODFREY SSALI | Buganda Road Court has given the state handling the offensive communication case against eight Red Pepper Publication journalists a month to complete investigations on the seized electronics and accessories of the Red Pepper.
This follows an exparte application granted by Chief Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda on December 28, 2017, to UCC Prosecutor Abdul Salaam Waiswa after informing court that day, that the police needed more time in their investigation. The prosecutor said they needed to procure experts to carry out analysis of the said equipment, to obtain the required evidence relating to publication of information prejudicial to the security of the Republic of Uganda.
However, this development was not welcomed by defence lawyer Denis Nyombi who expressed the accused’s disappointment to Grade One Magistrate Samuel Kagoda of the state going ahead to apply for an exparte application against his clients, well knowing they are ably represented.
Nyombi also informed court of how the prosecution’s actions offend the constitution which guarantees accused persons right to a fair hearing, and further implored court to order Prosecution serve the said application and order to him so that he and his clients determine a way forward.
Magistrate Kagoda agreed with the Red Pepper lawyer and ordered the State to serve both the application and order to the accused persons.
The matter was then adjourned to February 14, 2018 when the State hopes to have concluded investigation and have the matter fixed for hearing.
The accused include Managing Director Richard Tusiime, Finance Director Johnson Musinguzi, Director Operations Patrick Mugumya and a director who doubles as a secretary and chief marketing officer Arinatiwe Rugyendo.
Others are Richard Kintu; the Deputy News Editor , James Mujuni a journalist , Ben Byarabaha a senior Editor and Francis Tumusiime; the special project Editor.
Prosecution alleges that on November 20, 2017 at the Red pepper offices in Namanve- Mukono District, the accused persons unlawfully caused the publication and distribution of a newspaper head line portraying President Yoweri Museveni, Gen. Salim Saleh and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde as having contrived a plot to over throw the Government of Rwanda well knowing that such a publication can disrupt public Order and security.
It is further alleged that the said publication intended to injure the reputation of President Museveni, his brother Gen Saleh, and Security Minister Tumukunde who have since been subjected to hatred, contempt and ridicule.