KAMPALA — Kampala businessman and social critic Fraco Malungumu Gashumba has threatened legal action against the deputy Chief of Military Intelligence Brig. CK. Asiimwe and deputy defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki for parading him before the media as conman three years ago.
Mr. Gashumba in a press statement on Friday July 10, indicated the action by CMI was in total violation of his fundamental rights and liberties and that he will be seeking a range of legal remedies to address the case of malicious prosecution and abuse of power.
In 2017, Mr. Gashumba and his brother Innocent Kasumba were arrested and paraded in media on a number of offences before they were charged with possession of forged stamps, false declaration of a passport, giving false information, possession of substances (marijuana) and disobedience of statutory duties among others.
But Mr. Gashumba says the arrest was orchestrated by CMI’s Brig. Asiimwe to embarrass, demean, and demonise him and his brothers in the court of public opinion. He maintains, the charges were fabricated.
“Consequently, not only have I suffered mental anguish and derision but have also lost out on numerous commercial undertakings and incurred financial loss,” he wrote in the statement.
He says Brig. C.K. Asiimwe whom he accuses of assuming the roles of judge, jury and executioner, abused his position in the military institution to torment him without any basis in law or fact, contrary to the constitutional and statutory mandate of these public bodies.
“For these reasons, and as further elucidated in the court documents accompanying this statement, I will be seeking a range of legal remedies to address this self-evident case of malicious prosecution and abuse of power,” he noted.
The prosecution alleged that the trio and others still at large between September and October 2017 forged stamps from the South Sudan ministries of justice, agriculture, education, and transport.
It further alleged that in 2012, Gashumba being the holder of passport number BO892687 applied for the same document and refused to surrender the older one to a passport control officer for safe custody as required under the Passport Regulation Act, 2004.
The prosecution also alleged that Gashumba lied to the passport control officer that his father is Joseph Lwandaga, mother Teddy Nalwanga and that his place of birth is Namasuba, a city suburb whereas not.
It was further alleged that on September 12, at Tulip Golden Hotel in Kampala, the trio with intent to defraud two Dutch nationals — Kolgvan Dirutop and Manu Meerscghman — represented themselves as Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs director of procurement, Dr John Mwine whereas not.
It was further stated that the accused conspired to obtain money by false pretence from the duo pretending to offer contracts to supply trucks, troop carriers, heavy machines and water tanks.
Gashumba was also accused possesses of substances (Marijuana) in addition to forgery of defence ministry identification cards and uttering of a false document in the names of Maj. Gen. Francis Okello, the UPDF Joint Chief of Staff in order to defraud Dirutop and Meerscghman.
But Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court in 2019 dismissed fraud and possession of narcotic drug charges against Gashumba for lack of evidence.
Grade One Magistrate, Stella Amabilis dismissed the case after the state failed to produce a single witness to testify in the matter since 2017.
Thursday July 9, 2020 | Kampala, Uganda
INTENTION TO SUE FOR VIOLATION OF MY FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
I have drawn the attention of the abovementioned matter to the Attorney General of Uganda, Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki and Brigadier C.K. Asiimwe who hold the positions of Deputy Spokesperson of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Deputy Director of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), respectively.
The gist of my grievance is captured in the facts as narrated below:
On Monday, October 30, 2017, I learnt that my brother, Innocent Kasumba, had been abducted from his residence in Buziga and was in detention at the CMI Headquarters. I made my way there to establish the reasons for my brother’s predicament, only to be arrested and detained on the apparent orders of the aforesaid Brig. Asiimwe.
The following morning, I was transported to my home in Ggaba by over ten heavily armed and menacing operatives in a manner that is reserved for hardened criminals and terrorists of international infamy.
In combat style, the operatives took positions around my home. Without warrants, they entered and ransacked every room as they searched high and low for undisclosed items. Several photographs, including those of some members of my household were taken, ostensibly for “evidence gathering.”
The same horror was visited on my office in Industrial Area that same morning where upon arrival, the entire floor that houses my working space was cordoned off, preventing others from accessing or leaving their suites on the floors above and below. Box files, computer drives and documents were rummaged and sequestered, upon departure. Curiously, a photojournalist from Vision Group appeared and enthusiastically took pictures of the surreal scene.
Throughout this ordeal, I was bound by handcuffs which were not removed even when I sought to ease myself.
I spent the night in detention at the CMI cells in Kireka. No access had been granted thus far to my lawyer or any of my family members.
The following day, at 1.00PM or thereabouts, my brother and I were handcuffed and spirited by a double cabin truck to the UPDF General Headquarters in Mbuya. Shortly before arrival, the accompanying operatives ordered us to take off the bathroom sandals we were wearing and disembark the vehicle, barefooted.
We were led to a room where a forest of microphones and an array of flashing cameras were waiting, as journalists and reporters accosted us with questions and all manner of commentary.
The aforesaid Lt. Col. Akiiki addressed the live press conference and showcased an assortment of items purportedly recovered during the warrantless searches of my house and office the day before—among them passports, stamps and marijuana—none of which I had ever seen. We were under unequivocal instruction not to utter a single word to the press corps or anyone else for that matter.
Having been charged, tried, convicted and sentenced in the media without so much as a hearing, we were whisked back to the detention facility in Kireka.
Five days later, on Friday morning, in a spectacular reversal of the rules of criminal procedure, due process and natural justice, my brother and I were taken to the Central Police Station (CPS), and after two or so hours, arraigned at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court.
An astonishing twenty-eight (28) counts were proffered against me and bail was thereafter granted. To say that I was dumbstruck by these prejudicial actions is an understatement. Amongst the bail terms was a fortnightly appearance which I have honoured no less than twenty-two (22) times.
For all the theatrics that the authorities engaged in during my arrest and detention, including the alleged recoveries of items at my residence and office, no single witness or material evidence has ever been presented or adduced by the prosecution.
Inevitably, the case was dismissed on November 7, 2019.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is more than apparent to me and any observer that the events narrated above were orchestrated to embarrass, demean, and demonise me in the court of public opinion. Consequently, not only have I suffered mental anguish and derision but have also lost out on numerous commercial undertakings and incurred financial loss.
Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki and Brig. C.K. Asiimwe assumed the roles of judge, jury and executioner and visited these terrible injuries to my livelihood and societal standing. The duo conspired and abused their esteemed positions in our country’s military institutions to torment me without any basis in law or fact, contrary to the constitutional and statutory mandate of these public bodies.
For these reasons, and as further elucidated in the court documents accompanying this statement, I will be seeking a range of legal remedies to address this self-evident case of malicious prosecution and abuse of power.
Frank M. Gashumba