KAMPALA – Five people accused of illegally harvesting a kidney from Judith Nakintu – a former immigrant worker, were on Tuesday released on bail.
The five appeared before Lady Justice Susan Okalany in the International Crimes Division of the High Court on Tuesday.
The accused including, Abubaker Sulaiman Kato and Muhammad Mariam-both directors of Nile Treasure Gate Company Limited as well as their agent, Ali Hassan – the supervisor of the same firm, Jennifer Nalunga – in addition to board member, Salmah Muhammad were granted a Ugx5m cash bail –each.
The group, which has been on remand for more than a year is battling charges of aggravated trafficking after allegedly employing deceitful means to recruit, send, receive, and confine Nakintu in Saudi Arabia for the sole purpose of removing her left kidney in a disguised accident, which has since caused her to suffer mutilation and a life-threatening illness.
According to the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka who instituted the charge against the suspects – the accused persons abused their power and authority – committing the said offences between December 2019 and October 2021 in Kampala -Uganda, and Saudi Arabia.
The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through their lawyers led by Caleb Alaka in April 2022 on grounds of ill-health, which necessitated them to get treatment outside prison.
They also argued that they spent ten days at Jinja Road Police Station-following their arrest and that Nakawa Magistrates Court issued orders that they be released unconditionally but the State had defied the orders.
They also claimed that it’s their right to apply for bail – vowing not to interfere with investigations once released.
However, the Prosecution led by Joseph Kyomuhendo opposed the bail application arguing that the accused persons have no fixed places of abode, which would make it hard to be traced once released.
He also claimed that the suspects would interfere with the on-going investigations once release on bail. However, on Tuesday, Lady Justice Okalany allowed the application for bail and directed each of their sureties to execute a non-cash bond of Ugx10m.
“But should any of these applicants fail to come to court, I will be sending brokers to sell what you have. Have you understood? And you will be surrendering that Ugx10m to the government of the Republic of Uganda. You are not surrendering it to this court,” ruled Okalany.
She has also barred the suspects from travelling outside the country unless permitted by the Court. She directed the Officer in charge of the prisons where they are being held to make arrangements not later than Wednesday to escort the suspects to the DPC Jinja Road Police to capture their biometrics – such that even if they wanted to move out of the country they could still be traced and stopped by immigration authorities.
She adjourned the matter to March 23, 2023 for further hearing.
On January 30, 2022, a court in Saudi Arabia awarded Nakintu Ugx270m for the loss of her kidney. Parliament recently proposed tougher penalties for people involved in organ trade in the country. The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009 provides a life in imprisonment sentence for a person convicted of human trafficking.