PRO-M7 TYCOON CRESCENT BAGUMA MUM CALLS ON PRESIDENT: HELP ME KNOW WHO KILLED MY SON AND STOLE HIS BODY FROM KARAMBI GRAVE
By Mulengera Reporters
The 92-year-old Tereza Matama Kalenzi Rusoke (mother of late Kampala construction tycoon Crescent Baguma) has petitioned President Museveni to intervene in the criminal investigations that she says have deliberately been mismanaged by police and the Office of the DPP. The files are Fort Portal CRB 270/2018 and Kyegegwa TAR 52/2015.
The very frail old woman in a media interview says she has failed to get justice after some people exhumed the body of her son and reburied it in another place without her consent. Crescent Baguma, who was arguably one of the young tycoons in Kampala and Fort Portal, died in a car accident on November 17, 2015 at Kyegegwa.
He was later buried at his home in Burungu, Karambi, Fort Portal Municipality. Tereza (92) says that the people who exhumed her son’s body have continued to shamelessly torment her as if they are untouchable. With tears rolling down her cheeks, Tereza early this week narrated to media reporters and disclosed how she has failed to come to terms with the loss of her son adding that the recent developments about the exhumation of his body without a court order have continued to torture her psychologically.
Speaking about her wealthy son (who famously hosted Gadafy at his Fort Portal home during his last visit to Uganda and was in 2013 ranked 19th richest man in Uganda), Mama Tereza wept uncontrollably decrying massive corruption that is eating away the criminal justice system in Uganda.
The question & answer interview went as follows;
QN: Tell us about yourself
Tereza: I am Tereza Matama Rusoke. I am now 92 years. I am a resident of Kasharara Village, Kagongo in Ibanda District. I produced 8 children-7 girls and one boy. I raised all the 8 children as a single mother, save for the help I often got from my late father Joseph Rusoke and my youngest brother, Eulogy Rusoke, who has since passed on. Five of my children including my only son Crescent have since gone to meet the Lord.
QN: Why have you been forced to write to the President?
Tereza: On November 17, 2015 at around midnight, I received a call from my late son’s wife Mrs. Dorothy Baguma that my son Crescent had passed on in a fatal accident at Kyegegwa. Baguma was later buried at his home in Burunga, Fort Portal Municipality. During the funeral, it was said that he had died together with his driver, who had been his co-worker. The wife to my son paraded a man only identified as Kato to the mourners as the only survivor in the accident and that he had survived because he had been seated in the back seat of the car. This meant that he had just been a passenger in the car. Despite this, I later came to learn that Kato had been arrested and charged in Fort Portal Magistrate’s Court with causing death of my son.
QN: What followed after the burial?
Tereza: Four months after the burial, I received information that something had happened to my late son’s grave. That my son’s body had been exhumed and reburied in another grave about 10-15 feet from where we had originally buried him. I immediately dispatched my niece Ms Margaret Kitakuli, who had been very close to the late Baguma to go to the graveyard and verify. She was however denied entry by Mrs. Dorothy Baguma. I later travelled to Fort Portal and straight to the graveyard with Baguma’s father, who lives in Fort Portal and my other two in-laws; Joseph Adyeeri and Ms Angelina Aboki and Vincent Monday my driver. On arrival, we noticed that while the entire graveyard had grown green grass, the old grave where we had buried my son had fresh soil still sinking. We all got shocked. This was a pointer to an illegal exhumation. We wondered who had done it. By this time Mrs. Dorothy had already curiously gone defensive saying nothing had happened to the grave.
QN: Did you keep quiet?
Tereza: No. I was forced to meet the LC1 Chairman of Burungo together with my two daughters. The chairman also said he had also heard some rumors about the exhumation of the body because the old grave was being damaged by a sewerage line. He however said he hadn’t been invited to witness the exhumation nor had he been informed as the area local leader. He advised us to contact the sub-county chief for help. We proceeded and met the sub-county-chief of Karambi. We told her the whole story. Surprisingly, she told us that she had heard about a similar talk. She promised to go to the graveyard and verify. Unfortunately, her and her team of other staff from the sub-county were also denied entry by Dorothy. Her only choice was to refer the matter to the police in Fort Portal. She later wrote a letter for us.
QN: Did go to police?
Tereza: A few days later I reported the matter to the police and it was registered as a General Enquiry File. This was in November 2017. We wrote statements and the police conducted investigations under Mr. Mukiza (D/ASP) and the file was sent to the State Attorney of Fort Portal for legal advice. This was in March 2018.
RP: What followed?
Tereza: When the file delayed to return to the police, I paid a visit to the State Attorney’s office on May 20, 2018. I got to know his name as Adam Wasswa. He assured me the file would be worked on and returned to police with instructions. On July 2018, I went to check with police, they said the file hadn’t returned. I kept patient. However, in December 2018, the police called us saying the file had returned from the DPP’s office in Kampala with instructions to charge Ms Dorothy Baguma in court with a case of disturbing the peace of the dead. The police was also asked to revisit the scene and record statements from more witnesses including the LC1 chairman. The police was also instructed to record statements from some of the workers at my late son’s home and from Edison Kiraso, who after I reported the matter to police was asked by Mrs. Dorothy Baguma to write to me a letter to attend a clan meeting and sort out this matter. Unfortunately, that meeting never happened because I still wanted the police to conduct investigations to establish the truth. The DPP’s fresh investigations had been signed off by Ms Samali Wakooli, the Ag Senior Assistant DPP, for the DPP. The file was channeled back to police in Fort Portal through the regional Principal State Attorney Fort Portal, Alex Ojok Michael, who forwarded it on August 3, 2018. However, prior to this letter, the Resident Senior State Attorney, Fort Portal, Adam Wasswa had had on May 10, 2018 written to the DPP’s office in Kampala asking for further legal advice but indicated that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mrs. Dorothy Baguma in court under Section 121 of the Penal Code Act. Wasswa had also opined that my late son’s body be exhumed and be reburied in the original grave.
QN: Was Wasswa’s opinion respected?
Tereza: On January 8, 2019 I travelled to Fort Portal and in company of police officers led by Mukiza, we returned to the grave yard for them to conduct further investigations as instructed by the DPP in Kampala. Unfortunately, they couldn’t do it because Mrs. Dorothy ordered her workers not to open the gate for the police. We all withdrew. When we met the district CIID officer for Kabarole, he said they would use other means of completing investigations and charge Mrs. Baguma in court as instructed by the DPP. However, before she could be charged in court, my daughter Deodata Mbabazi told me she had received a call from a person from the DPP office in Kampala, saying he had a letter inviting me and my family to a meeting with Mrs. Dorothy’s family. This was on January 23, 2019. We later sent someone to pick the said letter. The letter called for a meeting on February 1, 2019 at Fort Portal High Court. At the time I was in Kampala to see my doctor but also to attend my granddaughter’s graduation. This meant I had to travel back to Ibanda to pick some documents if I had to attend the meeting in Fort Portal. This proved very difficult for me due to my old age. Secondly, the letter did not specify the purpose of the meeting apart from saying that it was meant to resolve the matter relating to the exhumation of my late son’s body. I did not quite understand the situation. I didn’t know whether the meeting would act as a mini court of some sort or not.
QN: And then what happened?
Tereza: So, I thought I needed some time to think about it and also consult a bit. Therefore, I asked my lawyers to write back to the DPP requesting for another date. The DPP however insisted that the meeting would take place with or without us. So, we couldn’t attend because even my lawyers had to attend a judicial function for the New law year day at High Court, Kampala. We were later told that the scheduled meeting took place without us and that the team later went to the graveyard. Thereafter, we received a call from the DPP that someone went to my home in Ibanda to serve me with court summons to appear in the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Fort Portal on February 21, 2019 as a respondent to a Misc Cause No. 05 of 2019 filed by Mrs. Dorothy seeking a restraint order against me and my entire family never to step at my late son’s home and also never to be seen anywhere within a radius of a kilometer from my late son’s home in Burungo, Karambi Fort Portal.
QN: So, are you contented now?
Tereza: My other points of concern are; Given the fact that a passenger, Kato said to have survived in the car accident that allegedly killed my son and his co-driver was charged with a traffic offence, I am now suspicious that my son could have died under other mysterious circumstances other than the said car accident. And given the emerging unclear circumstances under which my son died, my life and the lives of members of my family are in danger now that we are following up these matters. Also, ever since Crescent died, in the said car accident, I have never seen the post mortem report yet his body spent about 5 days at Mulago Hospital Mortuary. I also believe that investigations into the illegal exhumation of my son’s body were mismanaged and hurriedly closed because those charged with this duty never bothered to find the old grave or even record statements from other independent witnesses because the late was buried by hundreds of mourners. And in my statement at police, I clearly stated that I highly doubted my son’s body was in the new grave and if yes, whether some of its parts were not missing. The investigations including the DPP did not focus on this aspect at all.
QN: Any other grievances?
Tereza: The late Crescent had two wives each with children, yet Dorothy Baguma grabbed all property and assets left by him. Dorothy as the administrator of the estate has refused to distribute the property and assets of that estate to the beneficiaries who include the children of the second wife-Junior Baguma and Thereza Baguma and myself. This is because before his death, he was my supporter in everything and so many of my family members were dependent on him too. Under the Succession Act Cap 162, we are entitled to the share of my son’s property which has been denied to us by Dorothy.
QN: What is your prayer to the President?
Tereza: My humble prayer is that he should order fresh investigations in these two cases so that I can get to know what exactly killed my son and to receive justice. The late crescent was one of the people who did great work for the government of Uganda because government used to hire his machinery and other services in Somalia and Bududa.(For comments, call/text us on 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).