UWA exhibits ‘disappear’ from court
Posted Friday, January 18 2013 at 02:22
Disappointing. The pangolin scales worth Shs300 million kept in court stores have been replaced with saw dust and cow horns.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has petitioned the High Court Registrar over exhibits worth Shs300 million that have gone missing.
UWA wants the High Court to investigate how the exhibits, pangolin scales, were replaced with debris.
“My staff and the police officers who were involved in the investigation, prosecution and handing of this matter were dismayed because they were eventually given pieces of cow horns, saw dust, empty mineral water bottles in the place of exhibits they had handed over to court,” the petition signed by the Executive Director, Mr Andrew Gunga Sseguya, reads in part.
The letter dated January 7, reference UWA/EDO/01/13, copied to the Judiciary and the tourism ministry, shows that the exhibits were handed over to the then Makindye Chief Magistrate Charles Sserubuga, on August 29, 2012, by Detective Superintendent Herbert Wanyoto, attached to Katwe Police Station in Kampala.
Another letter signed and stamped by Detective Superintendent Wanyoto of Katwe Police, shows that the exhibits were different from what was in the court stores.
James Busanane was found in possession of 115 kilogrammes of pangolin scales and confessed that he was exporting them to China.
The UWA deputy law enforcement coordinator, Maj. John Joab Kwikirize, said it was absurd that the pangolin scales were substituted with rubbish from court stores, which, he said, discredited the judicial system.
Judiciary Spokesman Erias Kisawuzi said the act was a gross misconduct that needed to be investigated, adding that they would punish any official found guilty.
Mr Kisawuzi said they have mechanisms where grievances can be addressed, and advised the complainants to either petition the Judicial Service Commission, or go to their offices for a quick remedy.