Heavily Indebted, And Fresh From Prison For It, This Ugandan Parliamentarian Now Faces Fresh Legal Threats From Big Lawyers

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About a week ago, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukaari was released from Prison where he had been booked for his alleged failure to pay back a 700M Uganda Shillings loan.

Shortly after his release, Mr. Rukaari, who represents the Western Uganda Constituency of Mbarara North, reportedly fired off a letter to Brig. Henry Isoke, the Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit – an outfit in Uganda’s Presidential Palace that was created by President Yoweri Museveni a few years ago and has parallel powers to those of the Inspector General of Government – of investigating and arresting the Corrupt.

In his letter, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukaari reportedly accuses Ugandan businessman Bob Kabonero of conniving with a Court bailiff Moses Kirunda to orchestrate his arrest and appeals to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate the “criminal intention” of the duo.

The contents of Hon. Mwesigwa Rukaari’s letter in a way reflect the sentiments voiced by Justice and Constitutional Minister Nobert Mao, shortly after the MP’s arrest, that the Court process was abused to unfairly arrest Mr. Rukaari over the debt yet his creditor is allegedly in possession of a security worth more than the defaulted loan. (Read our Report on that here.)

Now, two powerful Ugandan law firms have been thrown into the saga and are both claiming the MP’s letter was defamatory of their respective clients.

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First, for businessman Bob Kabonero, boutique commercial law firm MMAKS Advocates denies their client was behind the MP’s arrest as claimed and that the allegations he was were maliciously made by the MP.

In his letter, perhaps inadvertently, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukaari indicated he had evidence in form of call logs to show Bob Kabonero communicated with Court bailiff Moses Kirunda to effect his arrest.

“… to the extent that you admit in your letter to accessing our client’s mobile phone call records and have gratuitously published in your letter our Client’s phone number you have committed the offense of unlawfully obtaining or disclosing personal data contrary to Section 35(1) of the Data Protection and Privacy Act which offense is punishable on conviction by imprisonment for a term of up to 10 years.”

MMAKS Advocates write in a letter to the MP seen by The Legal Reports.

“ We are instructed to demand an immediate retraction and public apology by you of the untrue and unfair allegations you make against our client and for the apology to be published in a newspaper of national circulation within four days hereof that is no later than close of business on Monday the 20th March, 2023.

Should you fail to issue and publish the apology within the time stipulated, we are instructed to commence a civil action against you, in relation to your defamatory statements as well as lodge a complaint for your criminal prosecution for unlawfully obtaining and disclosing personal data in respect to your admitted accessing of our client’s call records.”

Apart from the retraction of his statements and apology for them, Bob Kabonero through his lawyers of MMAKS Advocates makes no more demands.

But not, Mwesigwa Rukutana & Co. Advocates for Mr. Moses Kirunda.

The law firm, which is owned by Uganda’s former Deputy Attorney General and Minister, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana, on top of an apology, is demanding from MP Mwesigwa Rukaari one Billion Uganda Shillings for his alleged defamatory statements against Mr. Moses Kirunda including a claim that the Court bailiff is unlicensed and is a murderer.

The law firm further wants the MP to pay 50 Million Uganda Shillings in legal fees.

“ The impugned assertions in your letter carried contents that are false, malicious, and highly defamatory to our client. The contents in as far as they relate to our client are not only false but also baseless. They are injurious to our client’s reputation, disposition and integrity in light of the inevitable interpretation attached to them by right-thinking members of society.”

The law firm writes to the MP in a letter seen by The Legal Reports.

Accusing the MP of seeking public sympathy through the statements, Mwesigwa Rukutana & Co Advocates have given the MP a week to issue an apology and pay the amounts of money demanded or else it pursues legal action against him.

“ We also advise that you focus on settling your debt obligations than seeking public sympathy and playing victim at the cost of our client’s unsoiled record.”

The law firm said.

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