KAMPALA –Pastor Sirajje Semanda, the founder of Revival Church, Bombo, Luweero district and the institution’s lawyer Jimmy Arinaitwe will spend the next 30 months in jail for committing offences related to fraud- court notified the duo on Tuesday.
The Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu sentenced the duo on Tuesday – ordering them to pay Ugx405m in fines. It’s not clear whether the sentence will be calculated from the time of remand.
The two were arrested in 2020 for defrauding over Ugx4b from over 5,000 unsuspecting people – including 400 private school owners.
Semanda and Arinaitwe, operating under: “Hands Across the World Initiative,” promised scholarships and trips abroad to school owners, parents of vulnerable children, court heard. The duo also pledged to link their victims to ‘Operation Wealth Creation –Uganda,’ with a view of speeding their chances of becoming rich – which assurances were total lies meant to fleece them of their money.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit picked up the duo in November 2020 after receiving several complaints from their victims.
Semanda was arrested together with his girlfriend and musician – Margaret Nakayima aka Maggie Kayima aka Nabbi Omukazi, who was breastfeeding at the time, while attempting to flee the country through the Mutukula border.
The group, together with Pastor Franklin Mondo Mugisha of the Empowerment Christian Centre Church International, first appeared before the Luweero Grade One Magistrate John Paul Obuya in November 2020 on charges of obtaining money by false pretence contrary to Section 305 of the Penal Code Act and conspiracy to obtain money fraudulently contrary to Section 309 of the same code.
The matter was later transferred to Buganda Road Court where the case has been on-going for the past two years until their conviction on Tuesday.
At the time of the judgement, charges against Nabbi Omukazi and Catherine Kusasira – another musician and presidential advisor had been dropped while Pastor Mondo – conspicuously exiled himself.