Erias Lukwago faces arrest over missing suspect

The Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has extended a warrant of arrest against Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, and three others over the disappearance of a suspect.

Lukwago, Henry Ssempijja, Philemon Mushabe and Benon Mugerwa stood surety for former mayoral candidate Sandra Katebarirwe Ngabo, who was charged with obtaining money by false pretense, forgery and uttering a false document in 2016.

Prosecution alleged that Ngabo obtained $68,530 (about Shs 250 million) from a Chinese national Jason Wu Wei Ling of Mama Mia Investments under the guise that they would rent him space at Imperial Botanical shopping mall whereas not. The crime was committed from Rwenzori Towers in Nakasero.

Katebarirwe was later released on bail and each of her four sureties asked to sign a bond form of Shs 50 million, not cash, as a commitment that they would return her to court. However, Katebarirwe has spent close to two years without appearing in court.

Court last year issued warrants of arrest against all three sureties on November 15, 2018. Last month, Lukwago through his lawyer Nathan Mpenjje filed an application in the High court criminal division seeking to block this arrest or a fine of Shs 50 million and a possible jail term of three months.

Lukwago faulted the lower court for returning Katebarirwe’s passport to her without their consent as sureties which could have given her a chance to flee the country.

Resident state attorney Jonathan Muwaganya told the court that Katebarirwe’s whereabouts remain unknown, even among her sureties.  Accordingly, the Buganda Road chief magistrate Mariam Ayo extended the warrant of arrest earlier issued against Lukwago, and the other sureties until January, 15, 2020.

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