NEWS

Museveni meets Ramaphosa over deportation of Magara murder suspect

President Museveni is said to be unhappy with how South African courts are handling the repatriation of Patrick Agaba.

President Museveni has again met his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in a bid to expedite the process of extraditing to Uganda Patrick Agaba, who is believed to be the key suspect in the murder of Susan Magara.

The meeting between the two leaders, which took place during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last week, comes as the Uganda government awaits the decision of the South African court regarding Agaba’s fate.

Agaba’s lawyers last month petitioned the court, challenging the extradition on grounds that Ugandan laws allow a death penalty and the suspect would be subjected to it, contrary to the South African laws.

South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa is looking for how to avoid legal hurdles.

Sources said the meeting between Mr Museveni and Mr Ramaphosa was meant to find ways of avoiding the legal hurdle where by Uganda would need to sign an agreement with South Africa, promising that should Agaba be found guilty, he is not be sentenced to death.

When contacted, Presidential press secretary Linda Nabusayi confirmed that the meeting took place but declined to give details. However, sources said the President is frustrated by the delayed decision of the South African court over the matter, prompting the meeting.

During a joint press conference with President Kagame at State House Entebbe last month, President Museveni revealed that he had called the South African leader over the matter.

Agaba, aka Pato, was arrested on March 7 by South African police in collaboration with Ugandan security agencies ISO, ESO and CMI.

Efforts by the Ugandan government to have Agaba deported from South Africa last month a setback after his lawyers secured a court injunction blocking the travel.

Last week, they challenged the authenticity of audio recordings presented in the court by the Ugandan government linking him to the February crime so that he could be extradited to Kampala to face trial.

As part of the evidence presented in the court in Randburg, Johannesburg, the government team states that the voice recording of the person who was demanding for the $1 million (about Shs3.6 billion) ransom, which was later reduced to Shs700m, from Magara’s parents was Agaba.

However, Agaba’s lawyers challenged the government’s evidence, demanding the criterion that was used to determine the voice was Agaba’s. They thus asked the court to subject the voice recording to a forensic test.

Patrick Against is fighting a legal battle not to be brought back home to face trial

The lawyers also claimed that Agaba left Uganda way before the Magara family paid the kidnappers the Shs700m ransom. The government, in its submission, said Agaba left the country shortly after the murder of Magara.

The security agencies believe Agaba flew out of the country with $200,000, which is believed to have been the ransom that Magara’s parents paid to the killers.

However, Agaba’s lawyers are also challenging this evidence, arguing that with all security at the airport, it is impossible for someone to go through with all this money.

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