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Prime suspect in Magara murder case Pato granted bail

Pato outside the courtroom before he was granted bail. (PHOTO/Rachel Agaba)

KAMPALA – The prime suspect in the kidnap and gruesome killing of Susan Magara in February 2018, Patrick Kasaija aka Pato has been granted bail.

High Court Judge Yasin Nyanzi has this evening granted Pato a non-cash bail while his sureties including his biological Father Christopher Kasaija and his paternal uncle Richard Kagoro have been ordered to execute a non-cash bond of  Shs20 million.

His other two sureties who are his friends have also been ordered to also execute a non-cash bond of Shs25million.

While granting him bail, Justice Nyanzi ruled that Pato has never been committed to High court for trial yet he has been in custody since March 2018 in both Uganda and South America.

Court also ruled that it is his constitutional right to bail since he has a fixed place of abode in lower Mawanga Buziga while his father Kasaija also presented a duplicate certainly of title situated in Hoima

The judge also noted that since the prosecution led by  Jaonitah Tumwikirize did not object to Pato’s bail, he has no reason of not granting him bail with the sureties being substantia.

However, Justice Nyanzi has ordered Pato to execute his Buziga land agreement before the court which is in the names of his wife Patra Kugonza and that failure to attend court the land and house will be executed by the Ugandan government.

Pato has also been ordered to deposit his passport before a registrar and not to travel out of the country without court Knowledge.

“The applicant (Pato) is to report before deputy registrar once every calendar month starting from a weekend of August and also before the  OC Kabalagala police once a month,” Justice Nyanzi ruled.

Magara, then 28, was kidnapped on February 7, 2018, as she drove to her home in Lungujja, Kampala. Her kidnappers kept her for weeks, using her phone to call her family, in the end extracting a ransom of Shs700m, her family said at her funeral. Her body was discovered on the Entebbe Expressway near Kampala on February 27, 2018.

Pato, who is said to have been known to the deceased, was accused of being the mastermind of the crime and collecting and leaving with the ransom money. A manhunt for him was mounted shortly after the killing.

Pato was arrested in South Africa, but his extradition took months, until he was finally returned to Uganda mid-May. In his absence, Pato had been charged with the kidnap and murder of Magara, together with eight others.

Earlier in the day  Pato through his lawyers   Robert Mackay and  Richard Rugambwa submitted in court while applying for his bail that has no criminal record and has been in jail both in Uganda and South Africa since March 2018.

They further stated that his offenses are bailable by High Court adding that he is also the father of two children who are all minors thus seeking for his temporarily release.

Prosecution led by Ms Tumwikirize did not object to his application but asked for stringent bail terms.

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