Watongola charged with fraud, released

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KAMPALA. The husband of Ms Rehema Watongola, who recently lost the Kamuli Woman MP seat, was yesterday charged with fraud before the Nakawa Magistrates’ court in Kampala.
But Mr Badru Watongola was released on bail pending the hearing of the case.
Mr Watongola, who was dressed in sandals and shorts and looked stressed, appeared before Grade One magistrate Noah Sajabi to take plea on charges of obtaining Shs230 million by false pretence.
According to the charges read by Mr Sajabi, the presiding magistrate, Mr Watongola allegedly obtained the money from a one Mr Stephen Tutu.

The charges
The prosecution led by Ms Anna Ntimba states that in September 2016 at the Uganda Revenue Authority offices at Nakawa in Kampala District, Mr Watongola with intent to defraud, obtained Shs230m from Mr Tutu on false pretences that he would sell to him two Prados and one Toyota Land Cruiser motor vehicles whereas not.
Mr Asuman Nyoyintono, the defendant’s lawyer, applied for bail which the State Attorney, Ms Ntimba, did not object to but asked for stringent terms, including asking Mr Watongola to deposit his passport and land title with the court in order to compel him return to the court since the case involved huge sums of money.
Mr Sajabi ruled that the offence is bailable and the sureties are substantial. He granted Mr Watongola a cash bail of Shs1.1 million cash and bonded his sureties at Shs15m non-cash.
Mr Sajabi then adjourned the case to April 27 for mention.

The High Court in Jinja in June last year annulled the election of National Resistance Movement’s Hajjat Watongola and declared Kamuli Municipality MP seat vacant following a petition filed by former Kamuli District chairperson Salaamu Musumba. Ms Musumba who lost in the February 18 elections on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) petitioned court challenging Ms Watongola’s election as MP of the newly created Kamuli Municipality. The two leaders are facing each other again, in what is shaping up to be a hotly contested by-lection. However, it’s not yet clear how the arrest of Hajjat Watongola’s husband will affect the by-election.

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