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SK Mbuga: Life in prison was tough

OUT: On January 28, 2018 businessman Suleiman K. Mbuga alias SK Mbuga, was arrested in Dubai, UAE by Interpol. Mbuga was arrested for allegedly collaborating with his wife Vivienne to swindle 53m Kronor (about Shs23b) from a company account which Ms Mbuga jointly owned with her 72-year-ols ex-Swedish boyfriend Sten Heinsoo. SK Mbuga talked to Lawrence Ogwal on his return.

1.You say you are an innocent man, but how come you were imprisoned for almost two years?
My going to prison was all planned by mafias who are here in Uganda. They framed me and involved me in a fraud case that I did not even know. The reason I have been imprisoned for almost two years is that the people of Sweden who processed my extradition did it illegally and the Government of Sweden, which is said to have put me on an international wanted list, only knew I was imprisoned in their country in August and that was when we went to court and I won the case.

2. Who helped you get out of prison?
Besides my Swedish lawyer, Mr Neo Barshtede, I want to thank the Ugandan government that wrote letters and asked for my release from Dubai Al Wiir Prison. The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, sent the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryema, to Dubai in November last year and asked for my release.

3. But if the minister asked for your release in November, how come you returned last week?
I was meant to be released in November but the process was delayed and after knowing I was still in, the ministry of Justice in Uganda wrote another letter asking for my release and on January 21, I was released but again they could not cancel the extradition process so I had to be taken to Sweden.

4.What was life like in prison?
I was in Dubai Al Wiir for one year and Kronoberg for about nine months. I would not say life has ever been good behind bars. When I was convicted in Dubai, I was still using crutches following the motorbike accident I was involved in in July 2017. I had not fully recovered, so I did not have full medical attention and on the other side, they were so strict that I could not talk to anyone else apart from my children. Swedish prison was a bit easy because it was where I got time to learn Spanish and Law.

5. So what next for SK after jail?
There is nothing much that has changed. I will continue with my projects, especially the Nu-Shifah Hospital that I am building in Kansanga, a Kampala suburb. Many people think I am going to start partying like other rich men of Kampala but that has never been me. I will instead urge the rich men in Uganda not to splash money but put it in good use.

Losses while in prison
I have lost lots of money because my businesses were slowed down. I spent so much money on medication, wellbeing and studying Spanish and Law. But I will get back all that money because after winning the case, I am going to ask for $20m (Shs73b) in compensation for the time and money wasted behind bars.

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