Embattled Kabarole district lands officers charged with forgery and uttering false documents must continue to face trial, the Court of Appeal has ruled.
Kabarole lands management officer, Peter Alinda and Cypriano Rwaheeru the former chairperson Kabarole District Land Board were in 2021 charged with forgery and uttering false documents before Fort Portal Magistrate's court.
It is alleged that the officials between February 2016 and October 2019 forged meeting minutes of the Kabarole District Land Board - KDLB MIN 06/02/2016 held on February 9, 2016.
It is further alleged that these forgeries were used by Beatrice Nyindombi to cause a transfer form for land comprised in the lease register of volume 1222 folio 06, plot 107 block 45 at Harugongo in Kabarole district.
Nyindombi is currently battling a land dispute case with the family of the late Hussein Juma in Fort Portal High court. According to a letter dated January 16 to the deputy register Court of Appeal in charge of criminal matters, Juma's children accuse Alinda and Rwaheeru of giving court false documents.
The two officials lodged an appeal on January 12 on the basis that they had been convicted of forgery and uttering false documents by the lower court, yet it wasn’t the case. They requested the Court of Appeal to return the files of the lower court to Fort Portal so that the court can continue with the proceedings as the High court had directed.
In 2021, the two officials had requested the Chief Magistrates’ court to stay the criminal proceedings against them owing to the fact that there was a pending civil suit that existed between Hussein Juma and Nyindombi in the High court.
However, the chief magistrate objected to their request and ordered that the criminal charges proceed concurrently with the civil suit in the High court.
Alinda and Rwaheeru proceeded to the High court challenging the ruling of the chief magistrate but the High court also dismissed the application and directed the assistant registrar to immediately transmit the file back to the trial court for further hearing.
They proceeded to the Court of Appeal on January 12, claiming they had been convicted by the lower court. But in a letter dated January 24 to the deputy registrar of Fort Portal High court, Lillian Bucyana, Court of Appeal ordered that the case file is returned to the Magistrate’s court for continuation of the criminal proceedings as directed by the High court.
According to the ruling, the appeal had no files of proceedings in the lower court which made it incomplete.
“This, therefore, is to return the file(s) of the lower court for onward continuation of the criminal proceedings as directed by the High court in its ruling,” reads the letter.
Last week, there were calls to interdict the two officials on grounds that they are facing criminal charges. The petitioners accuse the officials of holding onto office in contravention of the public service standing orders which require public officers facing criminal charges to step to pave way for smooth proceedings.