Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is not interested in prosecuting Pastor Aloysius Bugingo over his new marriage to Susan Makula Nantaba, according to the Chief State Attorney of Entebbe.
Pastor Bugingo who is the House of Prayer Ministries lead pastor allegedly married Makula under customary law on December 7 in Kawuku, Katabi town council in Wakiso district.
However, Ramlah Damba, the Senior State Attorney of Entebbe says the DPP is not interested in prosecuting Pastor Aloysius Bujjingo over his marriage to Susan Makula Nantaba.
She made the statement after Entebbe Magistrate Grade One Stella Okwong Paculal asked whether or not the state wants to take over the case from private prosecutors Male Mabirizi and Robert Rutaro Muhairwe.
Article 120 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution provides powers to the DPP to take over proceedings initiated by individuals or other authorities at any stage.
However, Damba said the private prosecutors can proceed to make their case because Janat Kitimbo, the Chief State Attorney for Entebbe says the DPP is not taking over both cases.
Thereafter, Magistrate Okwong charged Pastor Aloysius Bugingo on two counts, and Suzan Makula Nantaba on one count for allegedly getting married contrary to sections of the Marriage Act, 1904 and Penal Code Act,1950.
Okwong signed formal charges against the duo after merging private prosecution applications and complaints filed by Robert Rutaro Muhairwe and Male Mabirizi. Mabirizi and Rutaru accuse Bujjingo and Makula of contracting an illegal marriage.
According to Section 42 of the Magistrates Court Act, in private prosecution proceedings, the judicial officer shall sign a formal charge or charges against the accused person or persons after ascertaining by also consulting local leaders, that the alleged offence took place within his or her jurisdiction.
In this case, Magistrate Okwong relied on information from Joseph Emuit, the village chairman of Bwerenga cell, Katabi town council.
In his letter dated December 16, Emuit confirmed to court that Bujjingo and Makula got married at a ceremony held in his area. He says that though he did not attend, the ceremony was held on December 7, at the home of former Minister Nyombi Thembo.
As a result, Okwong said that though Mabirizi and Rutaro had proposed charges in their complaints, she has come up with her own charges against the duo.
Bujjingo is accused of contracting marriage by customary law when already married under the Marriage Act contrary to Section 50 of the Marriage Act. He particularly contracted a marriage by customary law having contracted a marriage under the Marriage Act with Teddy Naluswa Bugingo, and during the continuance of that marriage, he contracted another marriage under customary law with Makula.
Bujjingo and Naluswa got married on December 20, 2003 certificate number 376 at Victory Church Centre.
As a result, Bujjingo is accused of breaching Section 50 of the Marriage Act and committing bigamy contrary to Section 153 of the Penal Code Act.
Makula is charged with contracting marriage with a person previously married contrary to Section 42 of the Marriage Act. Being unmarried, she is accused of going through the ceremony of marriage with Bujjingo whom she knows to be married to Naluswa. On conviction, she is liable to serve a maximum jail term of five years.
Bujjingo on conviction may be sentenced to serve a maximum of five years in jail for each offence committed.
Okwong adjourned the case for January 21, 2022 and ordered the accused to appear on that day to take a plea.
Meanwhile, their lawyer Ronald Rulinda, said they are law abiding citizens and they will appear in court to take plea.
Mabirizi is happy that the DPP will not prosecute the duo.
He said the DPP sometimes takes over cases for political reasons and does not prosecute them.
He is thereby confident that he and Rutaro will secure convictions against Bujjingo and Makula.
Rutaro says Bujjingo and Makula must be held accountable for disrespecting the marriage law.