Following two separate lawsuits demanding the exhumation of late Ivan Semwanga’s body to recover the money that was splashed in the fallen tycoon’s graves, Ivan’s family members led by his uncle Herbert Luyinda have approached State House to block the process.
TheUgandan has learnt that Semwanga’s family is concerned about any attempts to exhume Ivan’s body, arguing that it is meant to refresh the pain they have suffered. The family wants President Museveni to use his position to stop any kind of disturbing the peace of the dead (Ivan).
Nonetheless, the body of slain socialite and businessman Ivan Semwanga could be exhumed to ensure that the cash he was buried with is recovered.
This will happen on condition that the two separate lawsuits before the High Court in Kampala seeking the exhumation of Ivan’s body are granted by the courts. However whether or not Ivan’s body is exhumed, could be determined by the president if he chooses to intervene as requested by Ivan’s family.
The two lawsuits demanding Ivan’s exhumation were filed by two citizens including Robert Ssenfuka and Abey Mgugu,
In the first lawsuit that was filed by Mgugu, the respondents are A-Plus funeral management and Bank of Uganda.
Mgugu states that he attended the burial of the late Semwanga and saw the managing director of A-Plus funeral management, controlling the funeral service at his ancestral village of Naklilo in Kayunga District at 4:40p where money was splashed into Ivan’s grave.
“I saw some people putting Uganda shillings in the denomination of Shs10,000, Shs20,000 and Shs50,000 in the grave of the late Semwanga before the deceased’s burial and I saw the same being buried along with the dead body,” Mgugu states in his affidavit.
Mgugu further states that he saw other people putting South African rand and US dollars in Ivan’s grave.
The petitioner, therefore, faults Bank of Uganda and A-Plus funeral management for having allowed some people to put money in Ivan’s grave before his burial.
Mgugu now wants the High Court to issue an order directing Bank of Uganda and A-Plus funeral management to open Semwanga’s grave so that the money that was buried along his body is retrieved.
According to him, the purpose of the money was misused or wasted thereby violating social and economic rights of other people.
In the second law suit, Ssenfuka sued Bahati Lubega, a member of the ‘Rich Gang’; Bank of Uganda and Attorney General.
In the second petition, Ssenfuka asserts that legal tender was thrown into Semwanga’s grave in full view of the police who provided security members of the Rich Gang crew that splashed the money in their fallen boss’ grave.
Ssenfuka argues that the act of the Rich Gang denies the economy a medium of exchange adding members of the Rich Gang should be prosecuted.
Through his lawyers of Nakachwa & Partners Advocates, Ssenfuka wants court to declare that the actions of Lubega and his colleagues are illegal.
He also wants an order for the inquest of Semwanga’s body to recover the money buried and return the same to Bank of Uganda for safe custody and release into the economy.
Bank of Uganda speaks out
Bank of Uganda has responded through their social media platform Tweeter saying that although the actions of the Rich Gang is not criminal, the money which was mishandled, is likely to be defaced, soiled or damaged, and thereby no longer serve the purpose for which it was intended.
“The national currency is minted and printed by the Central Bank to serve as; store of value, which means people can save it and use it later-smoothing their purchases over time; unit of account, that is, provide a common base for prices; or medium of exchange, something that people can use to buy and sell from one another.
The shilling is valuable because Ugandans collectively ascribe value to it and entrust the preservation of its integrity to the Bank of Uganda. Because of its grand purpose and value, it holds for us, the shilling deserves the status of a national symbol. This implies that our national currency should not be handled in a manner that is indecorous,” the central bank said in a statement posted on their Twitter handle @BOU_Official.