Anti-Corruption Court Boss Justice Gidudu To Face S.Sudan Businessman Malong Before Judicial Commission Over $400,000 Bribery Allegations!

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A few weeks ago, The Spy Uganda Newspaper broke a story where a South Sudanese ‘businessman’ Lawrence Malong commonly known as Young Tycoon fearlessly accused the whole Head of Ant-Corruption Court Justice Lawrence Gidudu of trying to solicit a bribe of not Ugandan money, but United States Dollars totalling to 400,000 (about Ugx1.48B)!

READ IN FULL; COURT OF APPEAL JUDGEMENT

For some of our new readers who may have missed the previous edition of this saga, Mr Malong was dragged to Court by two Ethiopians Wagnew Dessie and Abebe who work in South Africa. They accused him of allegedly conning them over $1 million in a fake gold scam.

So during his trial, Malong alleges that the Hon. Justice Lawrence Gidudu solicited the above amount of money through his (Malong) lawyer Nelson Steven, who reportedly claimed that the Justice needed the said money in order to set him free after the prosecution had allegedly failed to produce incriminating evidence against him on charges of obtaining money by false pretence, conspiracy to defraud, uttering false documents and fake airway bill.

As a matter of fact, the latest now, is that on Tuesday Malong officially lodged his complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) in which he wants the Commission to reprimand the Hon. Justice for the alleged misconduct.

”Justice Gidudu sent my (former) lawyer Steven Nelson to give him $400,000 million to him in order to acquit me. According to Nelson’s information, the money would be used as follows; $200,000 for the Judge and $200,000 for the Court Assessors,” Malong claimed in his complaint letter to the Judicial Service Commission.

Malong’s Statement Officially Lodged With Judicial Service Commission On Tuesday 

Justice Lawrence Gidudu Responds To Tycoon Malong’s Corruption Allegations

In an exclusive interview with Spy Uganda reporter Frank Kamuntu on Wednesday at his chambers at Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo, Justice Gidudu rubbished the claims and called it utter mudslinging aimed at tarnishing his reputation for reasons he is yet to establish.

“I have served the Judiciary wholeheartedly without any dirt on my name for the last 30yrs, and I have led this court [Anti-Corruption Court] for 10 years, I don’t know for what reasons someone would tell lies of this magnitude about me. But again, I’m very happy to learn that he has gone to the Judicial Service Commission. It’s a blessing in disguise because it will give me a platform to clear my name. Let him come bring evidence of his claims,” said Gidudu.

READ IN FULL; COURT OF APPEAL JUDGEMENT

Justice Gidudu also added that Malong taking the matter to JSC also presents an opportunity not only to clear his name but also, he will use the same to expose fellow judicial officers who gave Malong what he termed as a  “FAKE court order”, which Malong is using to tarnish his [Gidudu] name.

Gidudu added that after finding Malong guilty and convicted him on 16th August 2021, he advised him to appeal in case he wasn’t happy with the judgment and indeed he appealed for which he should have thanked him.

Malong With JSC Secretary Julius Mwebembezi After Recording Statement on Tuesday

According to Gidudu, on 13th January 2023, the Court of Appeal delivered a ruling through Assistant Registrar, Henry Twinomuhwezi cementing his [Justice Gidudu] judgment, that indeed Malong and his colleagues conned the Ethiopians and therefore was guilty and fit to be jailed.

“In fact, Court found that Malong was the master planner of the fraud, Lota made the assurance that gold existed, whilst Gavana Zikusoka was the paperwork ”expert” and therefore each one of these played a complementary role to sustain the fraud.

“After perusing through the record, we do agree with the Judge [Gidudu] that the appellant’s defence did not offer any credible challenge to the prosecution evidence pinning the three and others on the run about this conspiracy which was well woven and lasted a whole six months before the script dried up, causing PWl [victims] to report the matter to the police,” partially states the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

Part Of Court Of Appeal’s Judgement

On sentencing Malong to three years for obtaining money by false pretense, two years for conspiracy to commit a felony, and one year for using false documents, the Court of Appeal reasoned that it was incumbent upon the Judge [Gidudu] to precisely determine and then deduct the period Malong had spent on remand in respect to all the charges.

READ IN FULL; COURT OF APPEAL JUDGEMENT

”’ He [Gidudu] did not do so because his sentencing order was rather ambiguous. We note that although he took into
account the period spent on remand as required by the law, he did not specifically deduct from his final sentence the period spent on remand. The result is that he issued an illegal sentence and we are mandated under Section 11 Judicature Act to impose a sentence that we consider appropriate in the circumstances,” Court of Appeal judgment further reads.

Part Of Court Of Appeal’s Ruling

Considering the above, Court found that Malong and Zikusoka had already served their jail terms and therefore had no reason to stay in prison but ordered them to cough the USD 419,087 to the complainants since this is the only money that was proven to have been defrauded from them not the $1.9million that they had claimed before.

”For the avoidance of doubt, both A1 [Malong] and A3 [Zikusoka] have now served their terms. They are entitled to an immediate release unless charged or serving terms for any other lawful convictions. However, both are still bound to pay compensation of USD USD 419,087 to the complainants being the sum we have confirmed as proved by the prosecution,” Court ruled.

After being freed by Court of Appeal on account that he had served his jail term, Gidudu said Malong connived with Court Clerk and got what he termed a “fake release order” overturning both his judgment and that of the Court of Appeal.

”This man says he is innocent and that I sentenced him after refusing to give me a bribe. But you need to know that when he run to the Court of Appeal it found him guilty and that’s why it considered the time he had spent in prison to release him, meaning it agreed with my ruling and sentence, only that by the time of their ruling, he had already served the period. The second thing is, Court ordered him to compensate the complainants because it was proven that indeed he took their money, so does Court give you such orders if you’re innocent?” Gidudu questioned before he added,” So Malong has never been innocent as he claims.

READ IN FULL; COURT OF APPEAL JUDGEMENT

Asked why he thinks the order was fake, he explained,” the order they gave him stated that; ”the Appeal succeeds; The appellant’s conviction is hereby quashed and sentence set aside and order that appellant is set free unless held on other lawful charges.” He says this order contradicts his judgment and that of the Court of Appeal because this would mean that Malong was a successful Appellant on all the counts and therefore he was an innocent man.

Gidudu guided that a legit order would have stated thus; ”The Appellant is sentenced to one year on each of those accounts to run concurrently and since he has been in prison for about three years, it should be deemed that he has finished his sentence. Therefore release him. Secondly, the order should have been addressed to OC prisons, not to whom it may concern as it indicated,” added Gidudu.

‘The Controversial Release Order Issued By A/Registrar Henry Twinomuhwezi To Malong Which Gidudu Is Questioning

So Why Did Twinomuhwezi Sign On ‘A Fake Order’?

In a letter seen by our Spy addressed to the Chief Registrar explaining the above question, Twinomuhwezi said it was a mistake of the Clerk who brought the order for signature and so he signed it without reading through and later he found that it was indeed a mistake.

”Madam Jane told me to wait and sign documents before I could leave since I was the only one at the station to sign them. When she brought to me the release order since there were many documents to sign, I did not ask her for a copy of the judgment and ended up signing the way the release order was brought but later I discovered that what I had signed was not in tandem with what the Judgement was saying,” explained Twinomuhwezi.

Twinomuhwezi’s Letter

So Why Did The Clerk Hand In A ‘Fake Order’ For Signature?

In her ‘apology letter’ to Justice Gidudu, Jane Apio said she inked the order using the template she had on her computer and unfortunately forgot to edit it!

READ IN FULL; COURT OF APPEAL JUDGEMENT

”My Lord, I drafted this order as I normally do. But after that incident of Malongo’s allegations, I realized that I forgot to delete the sentence that read “Conviction and Sentence quashed” and leave the sentence to only read – “order immediate release from custody”. I apologize for the mistake I made. It was not intentional nor was I forced and or coerced to do it. It was an error. Am truly sorry for that,” reads Apio’s letter.

Clerk Apio’s Letter Apologizing To Justice Gidudu 

Meanwhile, through our close sources, we have learned that the Judicial Service Commission has since called the meeting to withdraw the said order that was issued to Malong and issue a legit one but also Apio and Twinomuhwezi have been summoned to explain their mistakes.

”Today they will have a meeting about this saga and the controversial order will be withdrawn. But the latest news is that A/Registrar Twinomuhwezi has since been transferred as a punishment for pending his signature on fake things. But also the Commission is still investigating the entire saga,” a source in the Judiciary told our Spy.

Malong’s Signed Statement Against Justice Gidudu

Now, this is going to be one of the toughest battles in the history of judicature in Uganda where Judicial Officers will be “trying” each other for wrongs they’ve done. You can actually equate this to Chief Justice Owiny Dolo/Justice Esther Kisakye’s saga over the 2021 presidential election petition!

Source: Spy Uganda

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