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Government, DRC in talks over Kipoi - minister

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By Olive Eyotaru

Posted  Wednesday, December 18  2013 at  00:00
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A senior minister has said Uganda is negotiating with DR Congo authorities to secure the extradition of under-fire MP Tony Nsubuga Kipoi.

Mr Kipoi (Bubulo West) remains across the border in the DRC, reportedly receiving medical attention, even as Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee holds an inquiry into his long absence without leave from Parliament.

Appearing before the committee as the last witness before the probe yesterday, Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga said discussions have been ongoing between the two governments for the last two months to bring the MP back to Uganda.

The MP is accused of robbery, treason and recruitment of youth into rebel activities.

“Kipoi has cases in the Ugandan courts for which he was given bail but he jumped it,” Mr Kiyonga said

There is hope
He added: “We have good relations with the DRC and understandings within the Great Lakes countries that if anybody commits a crime in any country, the other country should cooperate so that person is brought to book.”

“We have contacted the Congo government and we expect them to assist us to bring him back so that he faces the laws of Uganda.”

However, Mr Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the lawyer representing Mr Kipoi protested this, saying his client’s extradition is illegal. Mr Mbidde instead accused government of defaming Mr Kipoi and “cooking up” cases in different countries, thereby denying him the right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

“There is no extradition that can take place of a man who is not under arrest and has no offences of an extradition nature,” Mr Mbidde said.

“My client has never been under arrest. Even if you have got an arrangement of reciprocity between two countries, treason is not an offence listed under our extradition laws. I don’t know how the minister intends to have Kipoi, who is recuperating, brought back here. The only proper procedure would be a referral, if we had experts at treating him,” Mr Mbidde stressed.

oeyotaru@ug.nationmedia.com