KAMPALA – Buganda Road Magistrates Court has issued criminal summons against two city pastors over alleged involvement in a scam that saw more than 4.5 billion shillings defrauded from unsuspecting Ugandans.
The pastors are Franklin Mondo Mugisha of the Empowerment Christian Centre Church International and Margaret Nakayima also known as Nabbi Omukazi, a musician and a pastor residing in Kasubi a Kampala suburb.
They were summoned on Tuesday by the Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu to appear before court on December 22, 2020.
The two are jointly charged with Pastor Sirajje Ssemanda who is on remand at Kitalya prison and a lawyer/director of Hands Across the World Initiative Uganda Limited Jimmy Arinaitwe.
Arinaitwe appeared in court on Tuesday and was remanded to prison.
The prosecution alleges that the duo and others still at large falsely obtained more than one billion shillings from eleven people on different occasions. They allegedly pretended that their organization, Hands Across the World Uganda Limited would construct churches for the pastors, houses for the needy, offer scholarships and educate the needy children in the community from whose parents the money was collected which was not true.
According to prosecution led by Elizabeth Nandala, the money was collected from parents in places of Bombo, Luweero and Kampala between 2014 and 2020.
Ssemanda is charged separately for allegedly soliciting money from several parents in the country like Tororo, Iganga, and Kaliro among others.
Trouble for the accused started after their victims waited to benefit from the projects promised to them but in vain.
When they realized that the promises were not maturing, they petitioned the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate them.
Detectives attached to the unit first arrested Pastor Ssemanda whom they say was found trying to flee the country via Mutukula border and Arinaitwe followed suit.
However, musician and presidential advisor Catherine Kusasira and Pastor Mondo who spent nights at Wandegeya police station also recorded statements to this alleged fraud but were released on police bond.
It is alleged that they had obtained money claiming that they are well connected to President Museveni and his brother General Salim Saleh.
Meanwhile, earlier the court transferred a file where Ssemanda is charged individually and said it will be handled by Tororo Magistrates Court from where the crimes were committed.