Wednesday, 17 October 2018

BUYANGA MANAGER'S CASE TAKES NEW TWIST


The case in which property manager Bishop Jeche is being tried for fraud and perjury after he bought a house that had been put up as collateral for a loan from businessman Mr Frank Buyanga, took a new twist yesterday with the latter approaching the High Court challenging a decision by a lower court to allow three new State witnesses to be called to testify mid-way through the trial.

Jeche and his company, East Rivet Investments who are denying all the charges had been standing trial before magistrate Hosea Mujaya accused of perjury after claiming that he bought the property for $35 000 from Buyanga.

The complainant is Mr Leonard Nyoka who allegedly lost his house to Mr Buyanga after surrendering the property as surety for a $19 000 loan.

Jeche’s lawyer, Mr Admire Rubaya filed papers at the High Court seeking the court to set aside the magistrate decision allowing the State led by Mr Ephraim Zinyandu to call three additional witnesses in the middle of a trial. 

“The first respondent (magistrate’s) decision to allow the State to lead and rely on evidence from witnesses whose statements were yet to be recorded as of the date of the decision is unconstitutional as it infringes on the applicant’s constitutional right to a fair trial as guaranteed in section 69(1) as read with Section 86(3) of the Constitution, the right to be given adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence, section 70(1) ( c ) and right to be informed promptly of the charge in sufficient detail to enable him to answer to it,” read the papers.

In his papers, Jeche said when he prepared his defence outline, it was on the basis of what was presented to him by the State before trial.

He said there was no indication at the time that three additional people would be called hence such a decision would affect his case.

“With respect to the recording of witness statements midway through the trial and after an objection by my lawyers gives rise to possible collusion between the outstanding witness and those who have been excused resulting in evidence being compromised to my detriment. 

“The investigating officer and the State now know the real issues at stake during the trial such that there is real danger that evidence would be tailor-made and choreographed to plug holes created during cross examination of the witnesses who have already testified.

“There is no way I would be able to safeguard myself against unfair tailor-making of evidence.

“That decision by the first respondent breeds unfairness of the highest order,” read the statement by Jeche.

He said since he had already cross-examined two critical witnesses without the benefit of the intended new witnesses, he had no authority to recall them neither was he in a position to amend his defence outline.

“This would result in an unfair trial in favour of the State. With respect, the magistrate’s decision is synonymous to descending into the arena with solitary aim to assist the State prove its case,” he said.

Jeche noted that the magistrate in his ruling conceded that the situation should have been avoided. 

“The magistrate should protect me from the State’s improper tendencies of introducing new witnesses midway the trial,” he      said. Herald

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