LIRA – The Magistrates Court in Lira on Friday remanded three NRM Cadres to prison on charges of theft contrary to Section 254, 261 of the Penal Code Act.
The trio – Vicky Atim, Basil Odyek, and Nelson Ocen appeared before Grade I Magistrate, Jonathan William Wamimbi who read them charges theft. They all pleaded not guilty and were remanded to Lira government Prison until January 12.
Court heard that between June and November last year-the accused persons extorted Ugx4.4m from unsuspecting members of the Lango NRM Cadres Association -under the guise of taking them to meet President Yoweri Museveni at State House – Entebbe.
Although, the trio asked to be released on bail, Wamimbi remanded them till next week saying court had other urgent matters to handle.
“You have a right to apply for bail but considering that we have some other (urgent) matters and engagements, we shall handle the bail application in the next hearing, and you are remanded up January 12,” ruled the Magistrate.
Earlier, Julius Peter Ogwang, the Resident State Attorney told court that investigations into the matter were complete.
“Your honour, the inquiry is complete and the witnesses are in court ready to testify,” he asserted.
The trio, in their capacity as the Lango NRM Cadres’ group leaders had been arrested on allegations of extorting close to Ugx15m from members in exchange for a visit to the State House.
The accused reportedly promised to take NRM supporters to State House to meet President Yoweri Museveni by November, last year – demanding a payment of at least Ugx310, 000 from whoever intended to make the trip, which money would cater for transport, welfare in addition to a yellow T-shirt.
And indeed the trio on November 9, 2022 organised the promised trip but only 43 supporters travelled to Kampala but none met the president.
A victim identified as Robin Ongom said that the trio tricked them into travelling to Kampala but left them stranded until a Good Samaritan – Patrick Ogwang Obura offered them transport back to Lango.
Upon their return, the group started mobilising other members to demand for a refund of their money.
Robinson Wece, a member of the Lango NRM Cadres said their leaders had promised that the visit to State House would come with provisions of pieces of iron sheets as well as cash from the President and Prime Minister.
Wece wondered how they could be assisted to get back their money but meet the President at the same time – insisting that they were still interested.
Jacqueline Akullo, a resident of Alito Camp narrated she had joined Lango NRM cadre group – hoping to get something out of it but the association had turned out to be a money-making venture for the leaders.
Mercy Akello, a resident of Alito Camp cell in Lira City West Division who is also a member of the NRM Cadres group revealed that the trio had tricked her into using her tuition with promises that she would be able to recover it after the visit.
Lira City West Division Police Commander, Ivan Tenywa confirmed that the trio was under custody after at least 14 people had reportedly lodged complaints against them. He called upon the general public to be vigilant in order to avoid situations were tricksters fleece them of their hard-earned money.
Meanwhile, the Police in Mukono have arrested one person for allegedly kidnapping a Boda Boda cyclist.
Ali Kimbugwe, a resident of Kigombya Cell in Mukono Central Division was arrested on Thursday following the disappearance of Farouq Kilembwe, a resident of Namuyenje Village in Nakisunga Sub County.
On December 23, Mariam Namuddu reported a case of a missing person at Kyetume Police Post after her husband, Kilembwe, 36, had failed to return home for two days.
According to Namuddu, Kilembwe was last seen on December 20. She said that Kilembwe notified her that they were going to sell a motorcycle with Kimbugwe.
She added that Kilembwe sent her Ugx130,000 and instructed her to pay Ugx100, 000 to their village savings group. She added that on the night of December 22, Kimbugwe visited their home and gave her Ugx30,000 – instructing her to spend it wisely since her husband would take a long to return home.
Namuddu added that Kimbugwe was riding on her husband’s motorcycle and told her that they had swapped motorcycles. She said that she became suspicious and was compelled to inform the police about the matter.
The Head of Crime Intelligence Department-CID at Mukono Police Division, Juma Zziwa Kazibwe said that when a search was carried out at the suspect’s home – Kilembwe ‘s missing motorcycle Reg. No. UFB 941H was discovered.
A neighbour to Kimbugwe who preferred anonymity said that before his arrest, he had told them that one of his friends had been abducted by plain clothed armed men – taking him away in a drone.
Additional reporting by URN