KAMPALA – City lawyer Abdul Kiwanuka was on Thursday, April 23, 2020 charged with engaging in acts likely to spread coronavirus after he was arrested for distributing food to residents.
Kiwanuka was arraigned before the Mukono Chief Magistrate Juliet Hatanga on Thursday following his arrest from Lutengo, Nama Sub County in Mukono district while distributing food to residents.
Prosecution led by Agnes Kiconco, told court that Kiwanuka was arrested on April 21, 2020 from Lutengo where he was distributing food to residents against the president’s directive aimed at controlling the spread of the Covid19 pandemic.
“It is alleged that Kiwanuka and others still at large were arrested on April 21 in Lutengo village Nama Sub County, Mukono district for engaging in an act likely to spread Covid19, which has put the country on tension,” she said. Kiwanuka pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying he has never collected people to distribute to them food. He also denied accusations of spreading Covid19.
“I have been tested for Covid19 and i am negative. This therefore shows that the charges against me of spreading disease are not appropriate,” he said. His lawyer, Chrysotom Katuluma applifed for bail for his client and presented three sureties including Muhammad Matovu , Obed Sserugera and Mayima Kasasa. He also asked court to release the accused vehicle Isuzu box body Registration number UAK 825Z that he was driving during his arrest because it contains some perishable foods.
However, the State Attorney, Agnes Kiconco objected to the bail application on grounds that the accused is an influential figure and could easily influence witnesses. “Being an influential person he will interfere with the witnesses. However, if granted bail he should be put on strict conditions,” Kiconco said.
In her ruling, the Mukono Chief Magistrate, Juliet Hatanga granted the accused cash bail of Shillings 1 million.“After listening to both the state and the accused’s lawyer I am sure accused that the accused will not interfere with witnesses. I grant the accused bail of 1 million in cash,” she ruled.
She directed the accused to stay at his home in Buntaba in Kyampise Sub County in Mukono district until May 6th, 2020. She warned that should the accused defy the court order, he will be remanded until May 14, 2020. She also ruled that his car remains in police custody.