BY JULIET KIGONGO & EPHRAIM KASOZI
17 people, among them Dodoviko Mwanje, the businessman said to have been behind the demolition of St. Peter's Church, Ndeeba in Lubaga Division, have been released on bail pending trial.
Six other suspects remain in prison because they did not apply for bail.
Makindye Chief Magistrates Court presided over by Ms Prossy Katushabe on Wednesday ordered each of the 17 suspects to pay Shs2 million in cash as one of the bail conditions, while each of the sureties were bonded at Shs100 million not cash.
“The accused persons shall not be allowed to leave this country without court’s permission and as such they will each deposit their passports,” Ms Katushabe ordered.
“This court takes it that the fear of the state that the accused persons will not turn up in court when released on, is just a mere speculation. What is important is the accused persons to remain within the jurisdiction of court which moves around Uganda,” the court held.
Ms Katushabe said that since the case involves many suspects, it will be mentioned on a weekly basis for speedy handling and determination.
The court adjourned the case to September 16 when they will reappear in court for further mention.
Mr Mwanje is jointly charged with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Acting Director for Physical Planning Ivan Katongole and senior police officers over criminal cases in relation to demolition of the church structure.
The senior police officers include; Kampala Metropolitan South Zonal Commander for Field Force Unit, Martin Odero, DPC of Katwe, Mr David Epedu, ASP Mugisha Yeko Kato; the Officer in-charge of Ndeeba police and SSP Rashid Agero.
Among other suspects include Lubaga Division building inspector, Richard Naika and Division GISO, Ali Mukwaya. They are facing charges of alleged conspiracy to commit a felony.
Prosecution alleges that between March and August 2020, the group conspired with several senior police officers and other people who are on remand at Kitalya government prison to demolish St. Peter's Church in Ndeeba, the property of Church of Uganda.
The police officers also separately face a charge of disobeying lawful orders of commissioner of police Moses Kafeero, which were to oversee security deployment at St. Peter' church in order to avert any possible demolition.