By Spy Uganda
A real estate broker Francis Matovu has lost a case against the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among in which he sought compensation for the alleged torture inflicted on him reportedly by her agents.
In his application filed before the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala in December 2021, Matovu aka Butto, sued Among jointly with the Attorney General seeking a declaration that his detention for a period exceeding 48 hours without trial was in contravention of his rights under the constitution.
The court records show that on November 9th 2021, Matovu was arrested by policemen dressed in police uniform around Speke road in Kampala, and later whisked off to Mbuya military barracks in a police pick-up double cabin.
Matovu further contended that he was forcefully grabbed, assaulted and checked by the policemen who had arrested him and they later took his money totalling to 27,000 dollars, which he had obtained that very day after selling his Land cruiser vehicle registration number UAZ 188F to Faruq Kibirige.
According to the court records, Matovu alleges that during the time he was in detention, he was not allowed to speak to anyone including his lawyers and next of kin and his tormentors who were dressed in army uniform kept asking him why he was defaming the Deputy Speaker of Parliament.
They reportedly interrogated him about a dossier that circulated on social media alleging that Among is corrupt having allegedly been involved in a number of corruption scandals but he denied knowledge of the same.
“While in Mbuya military barracks, I was beaten with a wire rod and sticks on my stomach, chest, legs and back, soaked in extremely cold water for a very long time, hanged with a rope tied to the ceiling while my hands were held together by handcuffs which caused severe wounds on my hands,” said the complainant. “I was slapped on my ears which has affected my hearing to date, my nose was pricked with a stick which has caused a permanent scar on my nose and I was kept in solitary confinement.”
On November 12th 2021, at Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court, Matovu was charged together with; the head of Mobilization for National Unity Platform party in Eastern Uganda, Moses Bigirwa, and journalists Pidson Kareire and Moses Mugalula on charges of offensive communication stemming from their alleged involvement in reports on social media accusing Among of corruption and influence peddling.
However, in her defence, Among told Court that she had no idea that the applicant was one of those behind the said
social media communications and his arrest could only have been out of investigations and information independently obtained by the investigating officers who are not under her control.
”Upon lodging a complaint at the CID headquarters, further investigations and further action in the matter including the arrest and detention of possible suspects was left in the hands of the police and not me as the complainant,” Among defended herself.
She further stated that she was therefore not responsible whether in person or vicariously for the alleged embarrassment, inconvenience or loss whatsoever claimed to have been suffered by the applicant and that the allegations were only meant to solicit sympathy from the court.
Hon Justice Ssekaana Musa on 27th July 2022 ruled in favour of the Speaker that she simply lodged a complaint with the police and had no personal or official capacity to determine how the investigations, arrests or detaining of the offenders would be done.
”It would be an injustice to hold the 1st respondent personally liable for the actions of the Police CID,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.
Ssekaana then dustbined Matovu’s case and ordered him to cough costs to Among for wasting her time instead of suing those he alleges tortured him.
”On that premise, I find that the applicant has not proved that there was a violation of his fundamental rights and freedoms by the respondents. Therefore, the application is dismissed and the orders sought are denied. The costs are awarded to the 1st respondent,” Justice Ssekaana ruled.