KAMPALA —Businessman Godfrey Kirumira, the chairman of Kwagalana Group has apologized to Mbarara City North Member of Parliament, Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari and said lawyers escalated and mishandled the matter in which the MP was arrested over a debt.
In a one minute video recorded on Saturday, both Kirumira and MP Rukaari were seen shaking hands —with the city tycoon admitting that he has been friends with MP Rukaari for over 25 years but lawyers who lacked knowledge of their long-standing relationship mishandled the matter.
“I have apologized to him [and] we are friends, ” Kirumira said.
This is after MP Rukaari had requested an investigation into the abuse of court process, and connivance by individual police officers and a court registrar in his recent ‘abduction’ and incarceration to Luzira Prison.
On March 1, 2023, Rukaari was arrested at around 4:30 pm between Bhatia Chambers and Jubilee Insurance Centre building along parliamentary Avenue over failure to pay a debt.
The arrest had been condemned by a number of top officials including Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Nobert Mao.
Narrating the circumstances under which the MP ended up in Luzira, Mr. Mao said that on Wednesday he was contacted by the lawyers of a one Gerald Kalungi, a money lender.
Kalungi is a son to Mr. Kirumira.
Mr. Rukaari borrowed money from Kalungi in 2019 and according to Mao, he invested it in his business which was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. When he was contacted, MP Rukaari willingly went to meet the lawyers, but unkown to him the lawyers had planned with court bailiffs and had a court official sign an undue order committing Rukaari to Luzira.
“This was absolutely unnecessary. The same money lender has Rukaari’s land title of property worth billions and a duly signed transfer form. So if it was about recovering the money, all he had to do was sell the property,” Mao explained to the gathering in Mbarara.
He added that the intention was to humiliate Rukaari and disrupt the church fundraising function. Mao further explained that Rukaari is owed more than Shs40 billion by the government for various undertakings which the business tycoon, who is also the NRM party national chairman for the Entrepreneurs League, has with government. “The papers for this money owed to Rukaari are with us and it is only Ministry of Finance holding his money,” Mao, who is a long time friend of the MP said.