By Andrew Irumba
City businessman Mukesh Shukla of Shumuk Investments is in deep trouble after being pinned on forging signatures for members of the Katatumba family, which he used to claim that they had sold him some of late Boney Katatumba’s properties, to wit Hotel Diplomate Muyenga.
Mukesh’s troubles have since worsened after a handwriting expert testified in court that signatures on the alleged court judgment authorising handover of the contested Hotel Diplomate in Muyenga, Kampala, to Shukla Babubhai Mukesh aka Shumuk were forged, hence null and void.
Shumuk had presented documents to court indicating that he bought Hotel Diplomate from late Bonnet Katatumba and that his children Rugirwa Katatumba and Angela Katatumba and widow Grace Katatumbahad signed on the sales agreement as witnesses.
However, Erisa Ssebufu, a Superintendent of police in the Directorate of Forensics and a handwriting expert, told court that he received a CID request to establish whether the writers of the sample signatures on the purported court handover report of Hotel Diplomate were identical with the specimen signatures.
Ssebufu said he had received sample signatures from the controversial document and a photocopy of late Katatumba’s diplomatic passport and specimen signatures of the widow Anne Grace Katatumba but couldn’t find a match between them.
Ssebufu testified that “I found that the questioned signature on the exhibit attributed to the late Katatumba had a pictorial resemblance with the specimen signatures. However, a detailed examination showed fundamental differences between them. They differed in shape, design and the crossing lines which were relatively longer on the specimen.”
He added that “I also found that the questioned signature attributed to Grace Katatumba is different from the specimen signatures. There was use of dotes in samples which is not observed in the specimen signatures, they are also different in proportion of loops.”
The police experts also noted that he examined the alleged signatures of the late Katatumba’s children Angela Katatumba, Rugirwa Katatumba and Ian Katatumba on the contested documents together with the specimen signatures and found glaring contradictions between them.
In conclusion, Ssebufu adduced that chances are high that the authors of the specimen signatures did not sign the questioned signatures on the said handover document for sale of Hotel Diplomate.
He however noted that no request was made to him to examine the sample signatures of Mr Shumuk on the questioned document.
However, this means that if Shumuk is found guilty of forgery he is likely to be arrested and either jailed or fined, on top of being charged with uttering forged documents in court.
Miriam Njuki, the State prosecutor, stated that contends that Mr Shumuk and others still at large on or about April 17, 2015 in Kampala with intent to defraud or deceive forged a letter for official handover of Hotel Diplomate in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb, purporting to have been signed by the deceased Katatumba, surrendering the hotel to him.
It is still alleged that Shumuk also forged signatures of widow Grace Katatumba and children Angela, Rugirwa, Ian and ASP George William Karyegira.
Hotel Diplomate has been a subject of a long-standing dispute in court between Shumuk and former consular of Pakistan in Uganda Boney Mwebesa Katatumba (RIP) and after his death the battle for the property was inherited by his family members.
Currently Shumuk is battling 13 counts of forging signatures of Katatumba and his family members, among the documents he forged being a court judgment and official report of handing over the hotel to him, plus purported sale agreement for the same property.