Entebbe Magistrate Grade One Stella Okwong Paculal has charged Pastor Aloysius Bugingo on two counts, and Suzan Makula Nantaba on one count for allegedly getting married contrary to sections of the Marriage Act, 1904 and Penal Code Act,1950.
Okwong signed formal charges against the duo after merging private prosecution applications and complaints filed by Robert Rutaro Muhairwe and Male Mabirizi. Mabirizi and Rutaru accuse Bujjingo and Makula of contracting an illegal marriage.
According to Section 42 of the Magistrates Court Act, in private prosecution proceedings, the judicial officer shall sign a formal charge or charges against the accused person or persons after ascertaining by also consulting local leaders, that the alleged offence took place within his or her jurisdiction.
In this case, Magistrate Okwong relied on information from Joseph Emuit, the village chairman of Bwerenga cell, Katabi town council.
In his letter dated December 16, Emuit confirmed to court that Bujjingo and Makula got married at a ceremony held in his area. He says that though he did not attend, the ceremony was held on December 7, at the home of former Minister Nyombi Thembo.
As a result, Okwong said that though Mabirizi and Rutaro had proposed charges in their complaints, she has come up with her own charges against the duo.
Bujjingo is accused of contracting marriage by customary law when already married under the Marriage Act contrary to Section 50 of the Marriage Act. He particularly contracted a marriage by customary law having contracted a marriage under the Marriage Act with Teddy Naluswa Bujjingo, and during the continuance of that marriage, he contracted another marriage under customary law with Makula.
Bujjingo and Naluswa got married on December 20, 2003 certificate number 376 at Victory Church Centre.
As a result, Bujjingo is accused of breaching Section 50 of the Marriage Act and committing bigamy contrary to Section 153 of the Penal Code Act.
Makula is charged with contracting marriage with a person previously married contrary to Section 42 of the Marriage Act. Being unmarried, she is accused of going through the ceremony of marriage with Bujjingo whom she knows to be married to Naluswa. On conviction, she is liable to serve a maximum jail term of five years.
Bujjingo on conviction may be sentenced to serve a maximum of five years in jail for each offence committed.
Okwong adjourned the case for January 21, 2022 and ordered the accused to appear on that day to take a plea.
Meanwhile, their lawyer Ronald Rulinda, said they are law abiding citizens and they will appear in court to take plea.
Mabirizi is happy that the DPP will not prosecute the duo.
He said the DPP sometimes takes over cases for political reasons and does not prosecute them.
He is thereby confident that he and Rutaro will secure convictions against Bujjingo and Makula.
Rutaro says Bujjingo and Makula must be held accountable for disrespecting the marriage law.urn