British national charged for offensive communication, remanded in Mbale

British national charged for offensive communication, remanded in Mbale

Mbale, Uganda | URN | A British national and managing director of Mbale Schools Brass Band, Phillip Monk has been remanded to Maluku prisons on charges of offensive communication.

Monk who came to Uganda in 2007 and started a brass band under his charity organization, Ugive2Uganda, was arrested on Tuesday 15th, February 2022 in line with an arrest warrant issued by Mbale grade one magistrate Andrew Katurubuki, after failing to appear before the court as expected on February 15.

He was arrested from his home in Malere, Mbale and subsequently charged with three counts of offensive communication, libel and trafficking in persons.

It is alleged that between 2014 and 2021, while in Mbale and other places within Uganda, Monk opened fake Facebook accounts in the names of ‘Brass for Africa’, an organization running a brass band like his – through which he published articles that were intended to disturb the peace and right of privacy of Brass for Africa and/or its directors.

According to Andrew Agassi, the director for Brass for Africa-Uganda, Monk used to post defamatory and malicious information on the said Facebook pages maligning his organization. In one of the posts, Monk alleged that Brass for Africa received more than one billion shillings for a period of six years but the said money was misappropriated by the organisation.

He is also accused of using the accounts to dispute the fact that Brass for Africa takes care of 1,000 beneficiaries in its program and advising that the organisation stops misleading the youth by claiming that they transform their lives by teaching them how to play the trumpet. Agassi says that such defamatory statements have been read by a number of people and circulated by some news sites. 

Walyemera and Company Advocates, the legal team representing Brass for Africa says that Monk uses Ugandan children under his care to defame and malign Brass for Africa through posting malicious information on Facebook.

Some of the other accounts which Monk allegedly opened include; ‘Brass for Accountability’, ‘Brass for Africa Big Lie’, ‘Brass for Africa Exposed’, ‘Brass for Africa big Lie Series’, ‘Brass for Africa Big lie No. 1’, ‘Brass for Africa Big Lie No. 9’, ‘Brass for Africa Big lie No. 3’, ‘Brass for Africa Big Lie No. 4’, among others.

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A complaint made on oath by Isaac Nangoye, one of the people who worked with Monk, alleged that during their morning briefs at Mbale Schools Band, they plotted to frustrate Brass for Africa in Uganda such that their band becomes the only school or organization in the country to receive donations. He adds that Monk has agents in Iganga who help him fight an online battle, using Facebook. 

Monk was remanded to Maluku government prisons until Thursday 17th when he will appear before the same court for his bail application.