Police in Kabale District are holding the Kabale Chief Magistrates Court clerk on allegations of soliciting a bribe of Shs600,000.
Julius Zaribugyire is being accused of obtaining the money from Sylvia Kantwiiga, 58 and 34-year-old Ediviana Ninsiima. The two are mother and sister to Joseph Owomugisha who is on remand at Ndorwa Government prison on assault charges.
On March 2, Zaribugyire is said to have asked Kantwiiga and Ninsiima to pay 600,000 shillings so that Owomugisha is released from prison on court bail. The two managed to pay only 300,000 shillings as they await for the suspect to appear before court.
On Thursday morning Kantwiiga and Ninsiima cleared the balance ready to see Owomugisha being released on bail. To their dismay in the afternoon, Owomugisha was sent back to Ndorwa government prison by the Kabale Chief Magistrate, Moses Kagoda Ntende. This was after Owomugisha's sureties failed to present national identity cards before court. He was remanded until March 30, 2017.
Immediately after the court session, Kantwiiga and Ninsiima stormed the office of Zaribugyire demanding for an explanation as to why Owomugisha had not been released even after they paid the money. Zaribugyire instead demanded for two hundred thousand shillings more before the suspect is released.
Ninsiima says that after losing hope in the court clerk, they rushed to the office of the Kabale District chairperson for help. Ninsiima says that they had sold four goats in order to raise the money.
On hearing the news, Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the Kabale District Chairperson alerted plain-clothed police officers. Zaribugyire was found in his office and arrested.
Keihwa says that his office has on several occasions received similar complaints against junior staff at Kabale courts.
Elly Maate, the police spokesperson for Kigezi Region says the suspect is being detained at Kabale police station as investigations into the matter continue.
The suspect declined to comment on the matter.
This is not the first time a court clerk is arrested for soliciting a bribe. In September 2013, Margaret Juliet Aguti, a clerk at Serere Magistrates Court was arrested for allegedly soliciting a bribe of 700,000 shillings from relatives of a suspect to secure his release from detention. In April 2010, Caesar Kenyi, a clerk in Koboko Grade II Magistrates court was arrested for soliciting a bribe of shillings 30,000 from Aidah Alone, a widow to help her process a court affidavit.