Crime & Investigation

Bulgarians' Lawyers Pin Magistrate Over Bias

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sale http://crewftlbr.org/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/admin-views/event-sidebar-options.php geneva; font-size: small;”>The Bulgarians through their lawyer, Charles Dalton Opwonya in his submission said, Buganda Road Court Magistrate, Julius Borore was wrong and biased in sentencing the convicts to 20 years imprisonment while basing on unsatisfactory evidence.

“The Magistrate said the accused forged the cards because all the information on them is illegal. Where did the magistrate get information that the cards were forged?” Opwonya wondered.

He argued that though 3 laptops had been recovered from the complaints home, none was used to show court how they used the laptops to forge the ATM cards.

“If at all they were using these laptops to forge the cards, at least they would have been showed to court how the cards were forged.”

He told court that though a tool box was recovered from his clients’ car, “they didn’t demonstrate before court how any of the tools in that box was used to make the cards”.

Opwonya told court that the cards might have been just placed in the suspects’ car because they didn’t go with it during the time of their arrest despite having surrendered the car key to the officer who was in charge.

“They (police) left the car of the accused behind yet there was no reason and even up to now we don’t know for how long the car spent there. The suspects are only accused of defrauding Stanbic Bank Shs6.1 m yet the financial institution claims over Shs1bn was lost. There are a lot of fraudsters in banks and they might have put the cards in the car since it had just been hired.”

He added that if the cards belonged to his clients, at least there would have been finger prints for any of them “but not any item brought before court had their finger prints. They said they had recovered 37 cards from the car. However, only 38 were tendered in court. Where did the excess cards come from?”

“The alleged fraud cases (in Uganda) started way before my clients came into the country. Stanbic claims the crimes occurred between July-September 2011. However my clients were arrested in August 2011 meaning that even when they were in jail, fraud still took place.”

He also argued that if the chips they recovered on the ATM machines had anything to do with fraud, then would have checked and told court which information was on them.

Opwonya said that with the above faults by the court, it was the very reason the magistrate didn’t say that the case had been found beyond reasonable doubt.

The Bulgarian suspects deny charges of forgery

The complainants are Ivan Ganchev, Milen Katsarski, Ivan Dimitrov and Anton Ivanov.

Sentence

The suspects were convicted and sentenced to 20 years each in prison after trial magistrate of Buganda Road Court, Borore found them guilty of 33 cases of forgery but acquitted them of conspiracy to commit an offence and computer misuse.

Arrest

The Bulgarians were arrested on August 30 when a one Samuel Serundu, a security guard at Stanbic Bank Nateete branch in Kampala, saw one, Ganchev, in the ATM room using glue to attach a device called a skimmer on top of the genuine skimmer, where money is withdrawn, after which he attached a card-reader on the other slot where the ATM card is inserted.

He told court that he later became suspicious when Katsarski overstayed in the ATM room.

However, the suspects denied the crime saying they had their own Visa cards which were found on them and they were only withdrawing money to go to Mubende and Masaka.

Ivan Ganchev and Katsarski, while giving their evidence through an interpreter, said the Attorney General knows that they have a registered company and that they were investors but had failed to find sugar of good quality.

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