Kampala District Land Board chairperson and lawyer David Balondemu has been sent back to Luzira prison barely two weeks after his release from the same prison.
Balondemu was initially remanded for 16 days on charges related to defrauding a Korean investor in a bogus gold deal worth Shs 2.2 billion.
This time, Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's court has remanded on fresh charges of obtaining money by false pretense and conspiracy to defraud. Balondemu today Monday together with Joseph Ibona an accountant at Bloom Advocates were arraigned before grade one magistrate Winnie Nankya Jatiko and charged.
They appear on a file with Ronald Kaweesa Tumusiime Kizito alias Denis, a carpenter and resident of Mbogo Kawempe in Kampala, and lawyer Eric Geoffrey Mkwe.
The prosecution alleges that the accused persons and others still at large between the months of November 2022 and April 2023 at Bloom Advocates with intent to defraud, obtained $553,000 (about Shs 2.08 billion) from KG Unlimited LLC by falsely pretending that they were going to award it a contract of supplying agricultural drone sprayers and fertilizers for the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries whereas not.
They have also been charged with conspiring to defraud. The prosecution led by state attorney Ivan Kyazze said inquiries are still ongoing, he prayed for an adjournment and criminal summons for Mkwe. They denied the charges and applied for bail through their seven lawyers.
The lawyers comprised Caleb Alaka, Evans Ochieng, Hassan Kamba, Robert Bautu, John Isabirye, Mukasa Mbidde, and Andrew Kibumba. Alaka said Balondemu has a medical condition but for purposes of confidentiality, he could not reveal it and instead handed a medical form to the magistrate. He is reportedly due for surgery this Wednesday, November 22.
He added that the charges and allegations are the same and were previously made against his client, and when he was granted bail, he hasn't skipped bail. Alaka noted that Balondemu wants to make sure that these malicious allegations are cleared in an open court and so is his co-accused who is an accountant and a young man.
Balondemu presented Eng Dr John Mbadhwe, the proprietor of Luna International College his friend and villagemate, Alimansi Nagaya a teacher at Kabukye secondary school, and Betty Nakayima the owner of Sunrise Luxuries in Kireka as his sureties.
Meanwhile, Ibona presented his father Benjamin Kaahwa an employee of the Bank of Uganda in the department of administration services, his friends; Bernard Arthur Luze and Derrick Wamani as his sureties.
According to Evans Ochieng, he explained to all the sureties the risks involved if the accused absconded from trial and they all seemed to have understood. Therefore he asked the court to grant them bail, saying the charges are bailable and sureties substantial.
However, the prosecution opposed the bail application relying on an affidavit by detective constable, Jorem Okwakol. In the affidavit, Okwakol said that Balondemu faces similar charges in a different court and that he has higher chances of interfering with ongoing investigations and compromising witnesses some of whom reportedly work with his co-accused.
The prosecution said all the sureties were not substantial and pointed out that Mbadwe had recommended himself as a person with good conduct as if he couldn't get someone else to recommend him at the LC I where he is the chairperson and at the school where he is the director.
Magistrate Nankya said she needed time to scrutinize the documents involved in the application and fixed the ruling to next Wednesday since it was already past 6 pm and she had other cases to handle.