On Wednesday, July 11, the Kololo-based Anti-Corruption Court convicted socialite Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black for embezzlement and conspiracy to defraud. Ex boyfriend and co-accused, Meddie Ssentongo, was convicted for conspiracy to defraud and will serve 18 months. Court documents reveal that Bad Black and Meddie were indicted for the offence of embezzlement conspiracy to defraud. David Greenhalgh met Bad Black at Rock Garden Bar on Speke Road in May 2009 and the two started a romantic relationship which blossomed into a business association. The two erstwhile lovers agreed to float a company Daveshan Developments Uganda Limited, a company Limited by shares whose main objective was real estate development with the aim of undertaking construction of commercial apartments for rent and lease. It was incorporated on 2nd September 2010and the Directors of Daveshan were David and Shanita.
The two shareholders agreed to open a dollar account no. 6002643799 for Daveshan at Barclays Bank, Garden City Branch and by special board resolution exh. P8(5), Shanita became sole signatory to this account. Over a period of nine months a total of over $3.9million was deposited on this account. Similarly in the same period over $3.9million was drawn from the above numbered Daveshan Account.
When Shanita requested Green for more money to engage in the real estate business, he decided to come to Uganda in November 2010. To his horror and utter disbelief, there was nothing to show for all the money Shanita had received. Having failed to trace some alleged pink and brown flats built out of the proceeds, the complainant Green reported the matter to police, moved out of the house he had bought for her and the two accused were subsequently charged, indicted and prosecuted. The prosecution called a total of nine witnesses.
David testified that he was the Managing Director of Davishan and that he was the complainant in this case. He stated that he met Shanita in May 2009 at Rock Gardens bar, Speke Hotel, at about 10:00 am. He continued to meet with her and treated her as his wife. He stated that he bought a house at Munyonyo for her and that she suggested to him that they set up a real estate business.
Peter Michael Lule, a civil engineer, testified that he was introduced to Meddie by Tom Mukomazi. Lule stated that Meddie introduced himself as a director of Daveshan and informed him that Daveshan had expressed a desire to construct a multi-million dollar hotel in Entebbe worth about $9m. Meddie further stated that he needed a bill of quantities and a project proposal within the shortest time possible. In response, Lule stated that he was able to produce two documents.
The first was the Daveshan Hotel Project document and the other was a Daveshan Hotel Nkumba plan. The documents were never tendered as exhibits due to alterations which were irreconcilable with the copies tendered earlier in court for identification. Lule also stated that he attributed the documentation to the authorship of Alkon (U) Ltd on the advice of his client in order to associate his firm with the stronger brand ‘Alcon’. Tomasi Kabogoza Mukomazi testified that he had known Meddie since the year 2000. He also stated that they had become good friends and openly shared about their personal lives. The witness stated that it was during one of these moments of personal interaction that Meddie confided in Mukomazi about his new girlfriend called Shanita. He stated that Shanita was also dating a white man at the material time. He further testified that Meddie disclosed that the white man intended to make investments in Uganda.
In response, the witness advised Shanita and Meddie to invest in hotels and apartments. Mukomazi further stated that subsequently Meddie informed him that he and Shanita had also discussed the matter with Engineer Lule. He further stated that between September and October 2010, on a date he could not exactly recall, Mukomazi accompanied Meddie to Entebbe where they picked documents from Lule.
Henry Joe Kibuuka [of] Barclays Bank stated that he first met Shanita at the Kansanga Barclays Bank branch. That on a day he could not recall, she appeared in the company of Meddie at the Garden City Branch of Barclays Bank and inquired about opening a business account. The witness asked the two, Shanita and Meddie, to show him some documents: an incorporation certificate, company form 7, company resolution of Daveshan showing details of the directors’ agreement to open an account with Barclays Bank, a resolution to show that Shanita was the sole signatory to the said bank account, and Articles and Memorandum of Association of the company.
Shanita stated that she needed a shilling and dollar account. Kibuuka then asked her to provide details of directors which she did. He was shown documents indicating that David and Shanita were the directors. In addition, he requested David to personally sign on the bank documents since his signature was not appended to the documents the witness previously saw. David complied and duly signed on the documents.
The witness also stated that Shanita took him for a site visit to Maganjo, Kawempe Division, where she showed him around a site. She explained that she planned to construct residential holdings but that a floor would be dedicated to an office which would become the head office of Daveshan. The witness also stated that an Enhanced Due Diligence was carried out on this account to ensure that there was ethical conduct and clean sources of funding.
In cross examination, Kibuuka reiterated that Meddie showed him the registered office of the company. He also affirmed that Shanita made visits to this bank in the company of Meddie.
In addition to the Munyonyo mansion, Black received four vehicles which included one BMW, UAP 304D, A Range Rover UAP 838P, A Mercedes Benz with personalized numbers BLACK GAL, and a Mitsubishi Morano which Shanita said she had sold off.
For their defences; Black gave a sworn defence while Meddie gave evidence not on oath. The mother of three revealed that she had been a sex-worker when she met David.
In cross examination, Black stated that David showered her with so much money that she grew to love money very much and to spend a lot of it. She also stated that she refused to accept money in exchange for incriminating Meddie. Meddie informed this court that he was a businessman involved in property development and car sales.
In unsworn defence, he denied ever conspiring with Black or anyone else to defraud David. Meddie defended his association with Black as strictly a business relation. Meddie implored the court to ignore and discount claims by Mukomazi that he was romantically linked to Shanita and fraudulently connected to Lule. Meddie stated that this case had greatly affected his social life and disrupted his business which he referred to as a going concern.
Standard of Proof in criminal cases:
Whereas in cases of a civil nature a party who asserts a fact must prove it and the standard is met when and if a fact is more probable than not, this is not true of criminal trials. The standard in criminal trials is much higher as the prosecution is required to prove every ingredient beyond reasonable doubt.
Burden of proof in criminal cases
The prosecution bears the burden to prove every ingredient of the offence beyond reasonable doubt and the burden never shifts to the accused persons. I will proceed to review the offences charged in the chronological order laid out in the indictment.