Kampala Central deputy mayor Hanipher Mpungu who is facing charges of obtaining money by false pretense has requested bail from Nakawa Chief Magistrate's court.
According to the charges, between May and June 2022 while in Ntinda, Kampala district, Mpungu allegedly received Shs 450 million from Grace Tony Mulinde Lugayuzi on the pretext of selling him land.
During her appearance before Nakawa chief magistrate Ritah Neumbe Kidasa, Mpungu denied the charges and was remanded. Yesterday Wednesday, Mpungu returned to court from prison where she has spent over a month on remand, and applied for bail. Her legal representatives, Ben Wagabaza and Bashir Nyanzi, presented five sureties, including her brother, friends, and her 77-year-old father, Ali Mpungu, a retired civil servant.
Court was informed that she intends to reconcile with the complainant, and the offense against her did not involve violence. The lawyers also emphasized that courts encourage reconciliation. They requested the court to release their client on bail to facilitate discussions and a settlement with the complainant outside of court, which would be challenging if she remained in prison.
State attorney Doreen Elima, representing the prosecution, stated that she did not have access to the police file and therefore could not proceed. She also said that she needed time to verify the bail documents provided to them.
As a result, she proposed a postponement of the bail application to a later date. However, Mpungu's lawyers argued that the case had not yet reached the stage where the contents of a police file were required. In her ruling, chief magistrate Kidasa adjourned the case to October 4, to give the prosecution time to verify the documents and retrieve the file.
In the meantime, Mpungu was remanded to Luzira prison. If found guilty, the offense she is charged with carries a maximum prison sentence of five years. Records indicate that Mpungu had previously been released on police bond on August 12, 2022, but failed to comply. She was subsequently summoned to court on August 23, 2023.
Allegedly, her lawyer falsely claimed she was admitted to the Wellington Diabetes and Heart Centre Nakasero. However, detective AIP Peter Abwona's investigation found no evidence of her presence at that hospital. The disputed land is said to belong to the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council. This is not the first time the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council has been involved in property-related fraud.
In 2020, three individuals were remanded to Kitalya prison for conspiring to steal over Shs 444 million from the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council in a software scam. The accused reportedly received the money through an ex parte court order issued by the interdicted Masaka High court registrar, Cissy Mudhasi, in favour of Ram Engineering Uganda Limited, with an arbitrator only identified as I. Tugumisirize.