Report: Cocaine found in Nebanda’s body

Sunday December 23 2012

Cerinah Nebanda addressing her constituents after being elected. FILE PHOTO

Cerinah Cerinah Nebanda addressing her constituents after being elected. FILE PHOTO. FILE PHOTO 

By Andrew Bagala

Narcotics and alcohol have been found in body samples of Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda, the government has said.

Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the director general of Health Services, while releasing preliminary autopsy and toxicology findings obtained from Roar Forensics Limited in the UK, said traces of heroin, alcohol, cocaine, chloroquine and dextromethorphan were found in the fallen MP’s body.

“The fact that some of these toxins/drugs were detected in the stomach contents is an indication that they may have been taken orally prior to death,” Dr Aceng said yesterday, quoting the report.

She added: “The detection of the products and their breakdown substances in the blood and urine indicates they were absorbed and distributed in the blood stream to various body organs and eventually excreted in the urine.”
The latest findings confirm an earlier suggestion by the police that the MP could have died of drugs over dose, a claim the family refuted and instead said Nebanda could have been poisoned.

The ruling party MP, who was critical of many government programmes, was pronounced dead last Friday evening at a medical facility in Kampala where she had been taken.

Her sudden death drew criticism from the public and MPs who say government could have had a hand in Nebanda’s demise.

However, President Museveni early this week distanced his government from any involvement in the sudden death of the youthful MP, warning that the government would arrest anyone accusing it of having a hand in death.


The Rice incident
The government’s Analytical Laboratory was used to detect drugs in the body of former Amazing Grace producer Jeff Rice’s body, who died under similar circumstances early this year in Kampala.

The report from investigations by the same lab into Nebanda’s death has not been made public and it is unclear if it will tally with the UK report.

Parliament on Friday sought to end the controversy over Butaleja’s death by stopping all further post-mortem investigations. A report compiled by three MPs - Dr Chris Baryomunsi [Kinkizi West], Dr Sam Lyomoki [Workers], and Dr Medard Bitekyerezo [Mbarara Municipality] advised that the passage of time and the introduction of preservatives into the body meant a new post-mortem was unlikely to give an accurate cause of death.

They subsequently stopped all further post-mortem investigations to allow the burial to take place [today].

The decision to halt investigations also follows a failed attempt by a pathologist hired by Parliament to take Nebanda’s samples to South Africa.
Dr Sylvestre Onzivua was arrested and detained at Entebbe International Airport last week, with police accusing him of obtaining the samples irregularly, a claim he denies.