Court orders arrest of Busiro North MP over alleged phone theft

Court orders arrest of Busiro North MP over alleged phone theft
Busiro North Member of Parliament Paul Nsubuga

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Busiro North Member of Parliament Paul Nsubuga is in trouble for skipping his trial over alleged phone theft. The Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate Siena Owomugisha has issued an arrest warrant for the legislator to face trial.

Owomugisha issued the arrest warrant after the prosecution led by Judith Nyamwiza told court that both the legislator and his sureties have skipped several sessions without any justifiable reasons.

However, Nsubuga’s lawyer Juliet Nampeera informed the court that her client was unwell and tendered a medical report before the court showing that the legislator is battling malaria and the doctors had recommended a three day’s rest starting Wednesday, July 27th 2022.

The prosecution objected to the submission, saying that it is not the duty of the lawyer to inform the court of the whereabouts of an accused person. She explained that it’s the duty of the sureties to inform the court of the whereabouts of the person they stood surety for, which they haven’t done.

Owomugisha concurred with the prosecution, saying that failure by the legislator to show up is delaying court proceedings. She noted that this could be a delaying tactic because whenever Nsubuga shows up, he comes with a lawyer or vice versa.

She issued a warrant of arrest against Nsubuga requiring police to arrest him on sight and present him before the court on August 12th, 2022. Owomugisha also issued criminal summons against Nsubuga’s sureties.

Details of the case

It is alleged that while at Nakasero opposite Shoprite on June 3 2019, Nsubuga, a resident of Nansana in Wakiso district stole an Itel phone valued at Shillings 80,000 that was loaded with Shillings 4.5 million on its mobile money account.

He was picked up in March 2021, a month after being gazetted by the Electoral Commission as the winner of the Busiro North parliamentary election. His arrest followed a case filed by Gloria Namengo, a resident of Kawempe division in Kampala accusing the legislator of stealing the phone.

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He reportedly hid it in the newspapers before getting out of their business premises. She released a video recording that went viral on social media until police identified Nsubuga based on his campaign pictures.

He was arraigned before the Grade One Magistrate, Doreen Karungi on charges of mobile phone theft and was released on a cash bail of Shillings 400,000. Each of their sureties executed a noncash bond of Shillings 1 million.

The legislator, whose victory as Busiro North MP was confirmed by the Court of Appeal, maintains his innocence. According to the Penal Code Act, a person convicted of theft of any property is liable to face a jail term of 10 years.