KAMPALA – Police have arrested a member of staff at Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on allegations of spreading false information regarding coronavirus.
Addressing journalists on Easter Monday, police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said Adam Obec, a payroll officer, circulated information on social media claiming that Uganda had recorded its first COVID-19 death last week.
He reportedly shared information on his social media page indicating that the COVID-19 victim had been found dead in her room in Koboko district.
According to Enanga, Obec’s action triggered fear and panic in the public and undermined the efforts of the Health Ministry and government to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Enanga says they swung in action and tracked down the suspect from Mutungo, a Kampala suburb. Upon interrogation, Obec told police detectives that he is a payroll officer at KCCA.
This comes two weeks after Mwanga II Magistrate’s Court charged Pastor Augustine Yiga with negligence following his utterances that there is no coronavirus in Uganda.
Pastor Yiga appeared before the court on Monday, March 30, 2020 and denied the charges.
He was then remanded to Luzira prison until April 6.
According to Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, any one person who involves themselves in a negligent act likely to spread an infectious disease commits a crime and faces a jail sentence of up to seven years.
“Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he or she knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life commits and offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years,” the Penal Code Act.
On March 24, the Minister of Health issued a statutory instrument that places a two-month jail term for anyone who helps another person to escape from quarantine during this era of coronavirus.
The minister of Health also is empowered to put any area under a lockdown should it be suspected to be infected with coronavirus.
These are contained in a statutory instrument issued and gazetted by Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on March 24, 2020.