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I was Attending Private Gold Testing Classes- Suspect

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Kamugisha told court that he only got to know of his co-accused on January 10, 2018 following their arrest at Physical Chemistry Laboratory in Makerere University where they were allegedly conducting fake gold tests. He explained that he had travelled to the village to prepare for Christmas by the time the crime he is accused of committing occurred on November 25, 2017.
Businessman Assi Soubhi Muhammed observing gold tests. Allegedly, Richard Kamugisha in the mask conducting the test.

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A gold scam suspect filmed in Makerere University Physical Chemistry lab allegedly testing gold has denied any wrong doing. 43-year-old Richard Kamugisha told City Grade One Magistrate, Beatrice Kainza on Tuesday that he was receiving private lessons from the Lab attendant when he was arrested.

He pleaded not guilty to the six charges slapped against him including conspiracy to commit a felony, obtaining money by false pretenses, criminal trespass, personation, and forgery and uttering out a false document to wit, a gold assay report.  

Prosecution alleges that on November 25, 2017, Kamugisha together with others still at large pretended to be a technician at Makerere Physical Chemistry Laboratory and conducted tests of gold analysis, received money and issued a document of proof of test of seven gold bars, which would later turn fake.      

He is being tried together Stella Kalungi Dindi, David Kironde, Yazidi Kabonge Wamala and Nasser Kibirige for pretending to sell seven kilograms of pure gold to Assi Soubhi, which they did not have. The Gold was valued at USD 191,100 (600 million Shillings).  

Kamugisha told court that he only got to know of his co-accused on January 10, 2018 following their arrest at Physical Chemistry Laboratory in Makerere University where they were allegedly conducting fake gold tests. He explained that he had travelled to the village to prepare for Christmas by the time the crime he is accused of committing occurred on November 25, 2017.  

“I have never been in the physical chemistry lab on 25th November 2017 as alleged. I am not a staff member of Makerere University to have a privilege to have an office in Makerere. I am also not a student,” Kamugisha said.  During the prosecution trial, the complainant, Soubhi Muhammad presented a video he allegedly recorded Kamugisha wearing a gas mask and lab coat as he conducted the gold tests in the lab. The accused denied the claims.       “It is not true that I Kamugisha was the one wearing a mask. I have never impersonated anyone; leave alone a lab technician at Makerere University. Besides, I was never in Makerere that very day. There is no way I could appear in the video,” Kamugisha told Court.  

Soubhi had previously told court that he was able to identify the man in the mask after Kamugisha entered a strong room purportedly to record the gold results and removed the mask. But Kamugisha insists that it was not him.  “When I watched the video, the masked man has a pot-belly, a cross on his right eye, dark skin slightly taller than me and has side feet [mbaliga] which I don’t possess,” Kamugisha said in his defense.    

When asked what he was doing inside the Physical Chemistry Laboratory at Makerere on the day of his arrest, Kamugisha said he had gone there to learn how to refine gold.  “I have a mining company Maximus Metals Limited Uganda in Ntinda, dealing in minerals like gold, silver and gemstones. Now, government had introduced new regulations to sell refined gold. So I consulted on institutions that could teach me how to refine gold,” Kamugisha said.  

“I was referred to a chief lab technician of Makerere University by names of Budigi Buharara. I contacted him, he agreed to teach me private lessons on using chemicals to refine gold,” he added. 

According to Kamugisha, he had been attending private lessons three times a week [on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm]. He argues that on January 10, 2018, the day he was arrested, he had gone there to attend his usual classes.  

“While I was waiting for my instructor to join me, I heard several gun shots outside the lab. I approached the window and saw several police officers. One of them came to me and hit me with a gun but on my head. I fell down and fainted only to regain conscious when I saw all my co-accused,” Kamugisha.  

 Kamugisha alleges that he was stripped naked during the search and was later driven to Wandegeya Police station before they were taken to Jinja Road Police where they spent seven days.  When cross-examined by Loy Kalungi, the state prosecutor, Kamugisha accepted he did not have any admission to Makerere University and therefore was not a student.    

 

In his testimony, Dr. John Wasswa, the head of Chemistry Department at Makerere told City Hall Court that Makerere didn’t have private lectures and that Kamugisha was not known in the university system. He also told court that Budigi Buharara, the said chief lab technician, had retired and not a university employee at the time the arrests were conducted.  

Kamugisha also disclosed to court that he had been attending the private lectures for the past four months, effective August 2017.   In a twist of events, Kamugisha instead accused the army representative to Parliament Col. Felix Kulayigye of conniving with investigating officers at Kibuli CID Headquarters and using the Canadian national, Assi Soubhi to malice him.  

 

Kamugisha also told Court that during police investigations he was led from Jinja Road Police cells to his home in Najjera I Bulabila Road in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District for a search. He argues that USD 8200 (approximately 30million Shillings) was picked from his house.  

He was represented by his lawyers, Humphry Tumwesigye, Deborah Takora and Asuman Matovu, who submitted that their client was innocent and being framed. “Col. Kulayigye is using the complainant and conniving with police officers at Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) in Kibuli to use these fabricated charges against me that I have ever done business with him,” Kamugisha said in court.  

Soubhi Muhammed Assi told URN that it was becoming clear that the accused were on mission to tell lies to court and walk away free after defrauding him of his money.  

//Cue in: “When he said he…

Cue out: …they will notice his lies.”//    

Soubhi wonders why Kamugisha was tagging him to Col. Kulayigye and Deputy Director of CID Joseph Obwona into his case.  

“He fabricates that Mr. Felix Kulayigye” and CID Headquarter police they hire me like to arrest him. Where did I find Kulayigye from? I am a new person in the country. Of course I don’t know them. I am glad that we arrested them while they were doing another scam at the same laboratory,” Soubhi told URN.