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Former MP Kipoi’s treason case transferred to military court

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Expelled Bubulo West MP Tonny Kipoi at his home in Butabika,

Expelled Bubulo West MP Tonny Kipoi at his home in Butabika, Kampala, last year. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE  

By  EPHRAIM KASOZI

Posted  Sunday, May 4   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

Mr Kipoi and his co-accused’s trial shifts to the army court about two months after the treason case was withdrawn from the civil court for lack of evidence.

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KAMPALA- Expelled Bubulo West MP Tonny Kipoi, who is wanted for treason charges, is to be tried in the Court Martial.
The army prosecutor Capt Fredrick Kangwamu, told the General Court Martial on Wednesday that they were finalising the arrangements to extradite the former Bubulo West MP from DR Congo to stand trial.

Capt Kangwamu told the General Court Martial chairman, Brig Moses Ddiba Ssentongo, that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) investigators had reached the final stages of producing Mr Kipoi before the military court.

Capt Kangwamu had asked court to postpone the trial to May 20 to allow completion of the extradition of Mr Kipoi from DR Congo.
According to Capt Kangwamu, the investigators from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and Joint Anti-Terrorism Task force, who are handling the case, have completed the inquiries into the case.

He said what was pending was signing of the documents between Uganda and DR Congo governments to extradite Kipoi.

Kipoi’s co-accused
Mr Kipoi is jointly charged with five UPDF soldiers who are on remand. They are: Sgt Albino Okeng, Sgt Yunusu Lemeliga, Cpl Rogers Mweru, Cpl Adams Mwaka and Pte Ijosiga Dodola.
However, the accused’s counsel, Capt Nasser Drago, challenged the prosecution arguments as intended to delay justice to the accused.

He asked the army court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.
“Our concerns are that the accused persons have been on remand for more than a year. Our fear is that investigations might be perpetual and yet these soldiers facing trial need justice and to know their fate,” argued Capt Drago, demanding court to compel the state to adduce evidence against the five already charged in court.

However, Brig Ddiba adjourned the trial to May 16 to allow the army produce Kipoi in court.
The army alleges that Mr Kipoi had been recruiting personnel from Ugandan security and Congolese of COGAI, a rebel group in Bunia in Ituri region in DR Congo.

The trial of Mr Kipoi and his co-accused has shifted to the military court about two months after the treason case was withdrawn from the civil court for lack of evidence. In February this year, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the government’s chief prosecutor, withdrew the treason charges against the accused.

The prosecution had alleged that last year, Mr Kipoi held a meeting with DR Congo rebels and UPDF soldiers in a guest house in Kabarole District in Uganda with the intention of arming them to overthrow the government of Uganda.

THE CASE
The charges. The army alleges that Mr Kipoi had been recruiting personnel from Ugandan security and Congolese of COGAI, a rebel group in Bunia in Ituri region in DR Congo.
Evidence. In November last year, police arrested and interrogated three youth allegedly recruited forcibly by Mr Kipoi. The youths were later released after recording statements implicating the legislator.
Detained. Mr Kipoi is currently detained in Kinshasa pending extradition to Uganda. Uganda Police, through its Directorate of Interpol and International Relations, made a formal request to their counterparts in Congo on February 26, for him to be arrested and extradited to Uganda.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com