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Uganda: City Tycoon ‘fails’ to pin Journalists in a Criminal Defamation Case.

This Alert was originally published by HRNJ-Uganda on January 27, 2016.

Hearing of a criminal defamation case in which four journalists Ronald Nahebwa, Benon Tugumisirize, Madina Nalwanga are accused of  defaming city tycoons continued on January 27, 2016 with one of the  prosecution witnesses Ephraim Ntaganda revealing that he never complained to police about the journalists.

Ntaganda who was cross-examined by four lawyers, told court that he did not lodge a complaint at police against the four journalists but rather  against Juma Ssegawa Tamale a city business man with whom they have a land dispute. Asked whether he was sure the journalists are the ones who wrote and published the defamatory stories he is complaining about; Ntaganda told court presided over by Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Kalemani James, that he is not a ‘specialist’ to know who writes and publishes stories in newspapers.

Prosecution alleges that the four journalists on May 18, 31 and June 4, 2015 published in Bukedde and Red Pepper newspapers defamatory statements against Kampala city businessmen Drake Lubega and Ephraim Ntaganda. That the stories published suggested that the duo were trailing Ssegawa Tamale Juma to kill him over land ownership disputes. They further alleged that Juma Ssegawa Tamale  told them that Ntaganda) was conniving with Drake Lubega and others to forcefully grab his land and had hired boda boda (commercial) cyclists to trail the said Juma  threatening to kill him if he does not leave the land.

The journalists are represented by Wameli Anthony, Tom Ochaya, Tonny Kirabira and Joseph Kiryowa. Prosecution is led by Peter Mugisha. The case was adjourned to March 4, 2016 for further hearing

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