Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Nobert Mao has decried the manner in which Mbarara City North MP, Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari was arrested and sent to Luzira prison over a shs700 million debt.
Rukari was earlier this week remanded to Luzira prison by the Commercial Division of the High Court in Kampala for defaulting on a shs700 million debt, following a November, 17,2022 arrest warrant issued by the court’s deputy registrar.
Speaking during the launch of a fundraising drive for Uganda Martyrs Catholic Parish Church in Mbarara on Saturday where he represented Speaker of Parliament Anita Among , Mao narrated circumstances under which the legislator who is also an NRM CEC member ended up at Luzira.
Mao narrated that Rukaari was contacted by the lawyers of one Gerald Kalungi, a “controversial money lender” from whom he had borrowed money in 2019 and according to Mao, he invested it in his business which was hard hit by the Covid- pandemic.
The minister said that when Rukaari went to meet the lawyers, they had connived with court bailiffs and had got a court official who signed “undue order committing Rukaari to Luzira.”
“This was absolutely unnecessary. The same money lender has Rukaari’s land title of property worth billions and a duly signed transfer form. So if it was about recovering the money, all he had to do was sell the property,” Mao told the gathering in Mbarara.
According to the Justice Minister, the intention was to humiliate Rukaari and disrupt the church fundraising function.
Mao explained that Rukaari is owed more than Shs40 billion by the government for various undertakings which the businessman has with government.
“The papers for this money owed to Rukaari are with us and it is only Ministry of Finance holding his money,” Mao, who is a longtime friend of the MP who also doubles as the NRM Entrepreneurs League chairman said.
On Friday, Rukaari’s management said he had been tricked into being arrested before being sent to Luzira prison.
The management said as a remedy, they have instructed lawyers to vacate the ‘ malicious court’ order and are committed to make the necessary arrangements to settle the debt once and for all.
“ We also intend to file a complaint against the unscrupulous bailiffs whose illegal actions led to the unfortunate arrest and incarceration of the Hon. Dr. Mwesigwa Rukaari. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure justice and to expose all those involved in this dubious saga.”