-Former Gov’t Official Faces Arrest
-Norvik Hospital Boss On The Spot Over Illegal Transplant
By Nancy Aheebwa
You never know when and what might trigger your imprisonment. It could occur in your youthful years, during old age or when you’re rich or poor. But for the elderly former Minister of State for East African Affairs, Shem Bujura Bageine, he is likely to be booked into a cell if info we’ve gathered is anything to go by.
Bageine, together with his brothers, are facing arrest after a young boy dragged them to court for cunningly transplanting his kidney in India and giving it to their dying nephew.
The victim, Godfrey Akanyijuka – an orphan and a resident of Maziba, Nyanja Trading Center in Kabale district – says he started staying at the home of Mzee Kosea Karyamugara, the father to Bageine wife’s, after the death of both his parents and grandparents at the age of 12.
“Mzee Karyamugara managed to educate me up to O’ Level and I was later brought to Kampala where I started staying with Shem Bageine at his home in Bugolobi,” Akanyijuka says.
But after sometime, Akanyijuka rented his own Muzigo in Bukoto in July 2014.
THE KIDNEY TRANSPLANT
About a week or so after renting his own muzigo, Akanyijuka says that Bageine’s brother, one Robert Biryabarema, called him.
“He told me to meet him at his office located at Ham Towers in Makerere, where he has an Environmental Consultancy Firm. He told me that he had gotten for me a job in Kyankwanzi district,” Akanyijuka says.
Biryabarema explained to him that Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) was to construct a road and had hired him to do an environmental evaluation. He thus told Akanyijuka that he wanted him to also gain from the deal.
“After explaining all that to me, he then told me that he had a sick patient at Norvik Hospital. He asked me to accompany him to the hospital to see the patient, whom I later learnt that he is called Ssemanda Twinamatsiko. The patient was indeed very sick and on dialysis,” Akanyijuka narrated.
Biryabarema called the doctor and the two had a brief discussion before they drove back to the office at Ham Towers. When they reached the office, the victim asked Biryabarema what the patient was suffering from and he told him that he had a kidney disease.
“While in office, he started showing me too much care. He started sweet-talking me, telling me that I should return the following day so that we go to Kyankwanzi together for work,” he added.
Reaching Kyankwanzi, Biryabarema’s care for Akanyijuka increased to the extent that he never wanted him to go away from his sight.
After finishing the Kyankwanzi job, the duo went to check on the patient again at the hospital. While at the hospital, Biryabarema told the victim that he (Biryabarema) was not feeling well and that he wanted a medical checkup. He, together with a top doctor at Norvik Hospital one Dr. Kalyesubula, convinced Akanyijuka to also test and know his health status.
“They convinced me that it was good to know my health status, which I accepted. Dr. Kalyesubula drew my blood but I didn’t know that their deal was to know my HIV status and my blood group. The Doctor had lied to me that he was going to test for blood pressure and malaria,” Akanyijuka confessed.
He further explained: “When my results were released, Dr. Kalyesubula called Biryabarema and told him that I was the right person who could help them. I did not realize what he meant. Amidst the confusion, we jumped into the car and went back to Ham Towers. While in office, Biryabarema called Bageine and ecstatically told him that they had got a right person to help the dying Ssemanda.”
Immediately after talking to Bageine, Biryabarema turned to the victim and frankly asked him to donate one of his kidneys to Ssemanda.
“I first refused, arguing that I could not give out my body organ. Biryabarema begged me to accept in exchange for a mansion in Kampala and Kabale, a vehicle and a multimillion business once the transplant is done. We drove back to Norvik Hospital. Dr. Kalyesubula convinced me that it was okay for someone to give out one kidney and remain with one. He further sweet-talked me to accept the two houses, a business and a vehicle and give out my kidney to Ssemanda who was about to die,” he said.
From there, the duo went to Bugolobi and met Bageine, who also begged Akanyijuka to accept the offer, pledging that he would take care of him forever.
“I accepted and asked Shem to put his assurance in writing, but he told me that he fears writing an agreement claiming that it was criminal. After constant persuasion, I was convinced, bearing in mind that since Shem was a minister, he would fulfill his promise.”
The Ex-minister later wrote a recommendation to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to expeditiously process Akanyijuka’s passport and in February 2015, he was flown to India. He was booked into Fortis Hospital owned by the government of Karnataka, where his kidney was removed.
THINGS FALL APART (THE FORGERY, CONCEALMENT AND PING-PONG)
Short of one kidney, Akanyijuka returned to Kampala, ostensibly a rich young man if the Minister’s enticing promises were anything to go by.
But paradoxically, four months elapsed without any communication from the minister and without going for medical checkup as it was recommended by the doctors in India.
“After waiting impatiently, I went to Biryabarema’s office but when I asked him about their end of the bargain, he angrily charged at me, saying he owed me nothing! I also went to the home of the person I gave my kidney (donee) in Kirinya, Bweyogerere but when I stepped at the gate, the guard released the dogs and they ran after me,” crestfallen Akanyijuka revealed.
He eventually got a lawyer and together they stormed Biryabarema’s office, only to be repulsed like thieves trying to jump over a rich man’s hedge.
“After one week, President Museveni’s lawyers of Kiwanuka, Karugire & Co. Advocates wrote to my lawyer threatening to abandon him in a secluded place where he would rot to death,” Akanyijuka added. Consequently, his lawyer dumped the case.
Surprisingly, Akanyijuka later found out that the minister and Biryabarema forged his family tree, claiming that his mother was related to Bageine yet she was a Muganda from Rakai district.
To make matters worse, Mulago Hospital was not aware about the entire process as it is illegal to extract or transfer a person’s body organ. This therefore puts Dr. Kalyesubula under the spotlight who recommended for the transplant.
After his quest for redress hit a snag, Akanyijuka went to NBS TV – specifically Titi’s show – and explained his ordeal, including what Museveni’s lawyers did.
“When he learnt that I had appeared on TV, Bageine called me and pleaded that I should not lead to his early death since he is hypertensive. He said that he would pay me as soon as he gets his retirement package. I later learnt that he got his retirement package but he still tossed me around like a dice.”
He then rushed to CPS Kampala where he reported a case. When the detectives started investigating the matter, the Bageine team reportedly went and procured some city goons who started calling and intimidating the police officers handling the case, saying they are from State House.
“They also started tracking my phone and threatening whoever calls to sympathize with me. Among the numbers which these goons were using to call and intimidate me and the officers is 0700146887. Police later discovered that the telephone number belongs to Alex Bujura, a brother to Bageine, who was fired from URA many years back.
Akanyijuka says that Bageine and company even dragged him to court but later asked for mediation. He explained that he fears for his life because the group is still trailing him and has led him to seek refugee at the home of one of the prominent business mogul from Bukoto Ntinda.
MINISTER BAGEINE SPEAKS OUT
When asked for a comment, the former Minister dismissed Akanyijuka’s claims as fabrications and outright lies.
“There is no way I could do such a thing because I have been a minister and a lawmaker; I know the law. He thinks that I have money to give him but I will not. He went and made those allegations at police but police cleared me after finding out that his claims were false,” Bageine said.
He however acknowledged that he knows Akanyijuka, and he is the one who raised him at his home after the death of all his family members.
BAGEINE’S LITANY OF SCANDALS
The former minister is not new to scandals. The recent one is where he engaged in a conflict with a widow in Kabale District over land. The row between the two is over the ownership of a 2.821-acre piece of land which was allegedly sold by her husband hardly a month before his death.
The minister says he bought the land but Molly Zoreka insists that Bageine did not complete payment for the same and wants the money cleared.
The contentious land is found at Kansinga Village in Burambira Parish, Kaharo Sub-county. Zoreka is the widow of Stephen Muhungirehe Bakeine.
According to the sale agreement dated June 6, 2012, Bageine purchased the said land at Shs70m but paid only Shs20m upon signing and that Shs50m would be paid after 60 days.
Zoreka said that upon the death of her husband, Bageine advanced them Shs5m to help them process the burial arrangements, remaining with a balance of Shs45m. But after the death of Zoreka’s husband, she was surprised to get information that Bageine had applied for a land title of the land before paying the balance. When she asked him why he was doing so, he reacted negatively which prompted her to lodge a caveat on the land.