Court acquits group accused of forging titles on NSSF land in Lubowa

Court acquits group accused of forging titles on NSSF land in Lubowa
Some of the accused in court before acquittal.

A group of five people who were being accused of forging a land title to steal National Social Security Fund(NSSF) land in Lubowa have been acquitted of the charges.

Four people including Muhammad Kityo Lubowa, Moses Bogere, Betty Namanya and Daphine Nakanwagi were accused of forging land titles to show that they owned the NSSF land.

On the other side, Patrick Onyango, a private surveyor was accused of   fraudulently helping the group survey the land and got titles overlapping the title acquired by NSSF in 2003.

Charges of forgery, uttering false documents, obtaining registration by false pretence and conspiracy to commit a felony were slapped against them.

However,  on Wednesday, Makindye grade one magistrate, Elisha Arinaitwe ruled that there were so many inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution.

The trial magistrate said the witnesses brought by the state could not be relied upon since they claim in some circumstances that they had recanted the statements they had made.

“These witnesses are liars. It is my finding that they are the very witnesses who performed acts illegally to have been performed in procuring the impugned titles.  They are not worthy of any belief,” the magistrate said .

The magistrate also questioned the manner in which documents presented to court as evidence were got, pinning the investigating police officer  on being overzealous with putting the fraudsters away  and in the process, committing grave errors.

“ He obtained documents for minutes without the request form . PE 22( request letter) was authored  on January,18, 2021  and received on February, 18, 2022 by the Ministry of Lands. It is on record that by August of 2021, the IO was already showing people certified copies of documents from P1D7 yet even his request letter was not yet received by the ministry.”

The magistrate insisted that most of the documents were got using these underhand methods, noting that it is through similar methods that the investigating officer recovered minutes of the district land board from the Wakiso CAO.

Court said these inconsistencies and many others on record show that the witnesses and their evidence are suspicious that no court can accept them.

“These are deliberate falsehoods and these render the entire evidence suspect and not worthy of any belief. I have properly examined evidence on record. My finding is surely that this evidence has left doubt in my mind.  The mode of recovery of documents, mode of custody of evidence specifically the experts report, inconsistencies in evidence of witnesses which caused them to lose credibility in the eyes of court and the failure to examine the documents uploaded on the system as against sample signatures and stamps, was the turning point of this case. These inefficiencies lefts a lot to be desired about this investigation,” the trial magistrate said.

He noted that most of the evidence relied upon by prosecution was manifestly unreliable and no reasonable tribunal acting on such evidence would safely convict the accused persons.

“For these reasons that I have labored to explain above and other many reasons manifestly on record, I find no case against all the accused persons and I acquit them forthwith.”

 

 

 

 

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