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City businessman Mukesh quizzed in fraud case

by Editorial Team
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By Michael Odeng             

City businessman Shukla Mukesh was on Friday quizzed in connection to forging a letter, purportedly signed by the former Pakistan consulate for the official handover of Hotel Diplomat in Muyenga Kampala.

According to prosecution, the businessman claims the letters were signed by the late Bonny Mwebesa Katatumba, the former Consulate of Pakistan Islamic Republic in Uganda and his children at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Makindye on April 17, 2015, whereas not.

The children include Grace Katatumba, Angella Keihongani Katatumba, Rugirwa Katatumba and Ian Katatumba. Mukesh also claimed that ASP George William Karyegera signed the documents.

Mukesh, dressed in a black pair of trousers and a long-sleeved sky blue shirt, stood in the court dock and gave presiding magistrate Marion Mangeni an application he filed at the High Court seeking a review of criminal proceedings against him, but she rejected them and tasked him to defend himself.

The businessman is battling six counts of forgery and six counts of uttering false documents.

Angella Katatumba and her lawyer Julius Turinawe leaving Buganda Road Court after city businessman Mukesh Shukla testified in a fraud case. The Katatumba family has accused the businessman of fraud. Photo by Michael Odeng

Under the Penal Code Act, the offences attract a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment, on conviction.  

At the beginning of his testimony, Mukesh alluded to issues not connected to the charges before court, prompting the magistrate to remind him of the charges.

“Your testimony is not necessary. Please tell us what you know about this case,” she asked while repeatedly reading the charges and particulars of the offence to the businessman.

Mukesh then told Buganda Road Court that he owns Hotel Diplomat and that Keihongani and Rugirwa are renting two rooms that they have never paid for since 2009, an issue still not related to the charges.

Mukesh said the two children of Katatumba now owe his company, Springs International Limited, sh925m in rent, contrary to what he was being accused of. He was not represented in court.

Tasked by the magistrate to defend himself on the forgeries, Mukesh insisted that his company owns Hotel Diplomat.

Produce documents

The magistrate has directed the businessman to produce the documents, including letters of handover of Hotel Diplomat and a commercial court ruling on the disputed property, in the next court hearing.

“Bring the necessary documents regarding the offence with the letter indicating the late Katatumba consented to the handover of the property,” she directed.

Ruling on property

Mukesh and Katatumba family have been battling in court over the ownership of Shumuk House on Colville street, Hotel Diplomat, and Banda Island in Kalangala, since 2009.

In 2014, the then Commercial Court judge, Henry Peter Adonyo, ruled that the properties belong to the late Katatumba and his children.

The judge, therefore, ordered the Registrar of Titles to cancel any instruments by which the certificates of title relating to properties in respect to any transfer into the names of Spring International Development Limited.

Adonyo also issued an order blocking Mukesh, his agents and servants from effecting any dealings with the properties and interfering with the Katatumba family enjoying it.

In addition, the judge ordered Mukesh to pay the Katatumba family sh300m in general damages.

The ruling of the trial judge has since then never been overturned by the highest court of the land.     



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