Namujju, Mutembuli committed to high court

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Namujju, Mutembuli committed to high court
After reality dawned on Cissy Namujju and Yusuf Mutembuli that the trial is real

The Anti-Corruption Court on Monday committed MPs Yusuf Mutembuli and Cissy Namujju to the High Court to face trial on charges of corruption.

The court also issued a summons for MP Paul Akamba, who is facing similar charges, to appear on June 21.

Mr Akamba’s lawyers claim he was kidnapped after being granted bail on June 14, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

Under stringent security measures, with officers from various departments patrolling diligently, Lwengo Woman MP Namujju and her Bunyole East colleague Mutembuli were transported to court in prison vehicles to reapply for bail, hoping to face the corruption charges outside of prison.

At 8:30am, the court session began, and the suspects were brought in. The prosecution requested the court to commit the suspects to the High Court for the corruption trial, a move that surprised the defense lawyers who had prepared to argue for their clients' bail.

State prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya said given the gravity of the charges and the evidence available, it is imperative that this case be handled by the High Court.

Muwaganya's plea led to a heated exchange among the lawyers. The defence for MP Paul Akamba, who was also facing similar charges, requested the court to address the issue of his re-arrest and disappearance after being granted bail.

"We are deeply concerned about the whereabouts of our client, MP Akamba, who was taken under suspicious circumstances after bail was granted," said Richard Rugambwa, Akamba’s lawyer.

Despite the defence's objections, the court committed Namujju and Mutembuli to stand trial.

According to the prosecution, the evidence includes hotel surveillance footage showing the MPs meeting with the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Ms Mariam Wangadya. Wangadya, who had been suspicious, recorded the MPs asking for a 20 percent kickback from the commission's budget for approval.

Additionally, their phone conversations were tapped, providing further incriminating evidence.

"This level of evidence is substantial and cannot be overlooked," added Muwaganya.

The court ordered Busiki County MP Akamba to appear on June 21. Despite being granted bail, Akamba’s whereabouts remain unknown, a concern for both the prosecution and his lawyers.

"We need to ensure the safety and presence of our client, and we urge the authorities to take immediate action," Rugambwa said.

The families and friends of the suspects left the court visibly distressed, their hopes for bail dashed.

The atmosphere was tense, with emotions running high as the suspects were sent back to Luzira Prison to await the High Court trial.

"This is a difficult time for us, but we believe in the justice system," said Ntambirweki Kandeebe, Namujju’s lawyer.

The court is set to reconvene on June 21 to determine whether MP Akamba, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, will also be committed to the High Court for trial.

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