State Slaps Four Criminal Charges Against MP Otto Top story

3473 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Isaac Rukundo, the Kitgum Grade one Magistrate read out the charges for Otto this afternoon. Otto is jointly charged with the newly elected Aruu North County Member of Parliament Lucy Achiro Otim, James Okot, Bosco Olanya, Bosco To-okema, Irene Ajok and Christine Achiro.

The State has slapped four criminal charges against Aruu county Member of Parliament, Samuel Odonga Otto. The charges include incitement of violence, threatening violence, destruction of electoral materials and obstruction of election officers contrary to the parliamentary elections act.

 
Isaac Rukundo, the Kitgum Grade one Magistrate read out the charges for Otto this afternoon. Otto is jointly charged with the newly elected Aruu North County Member of Parliament Lucy Achiro Otim, James Okot, Bosco Olanya, Bosco To-okema, Irene Ajok and Christine Achiro.

  
Prosecution led by Innocent Obale, the Kitgum Resident State Attorney told court that on February 29th, the accused, raided Pader Police station and destroyed four ballot boxes and other voter materials contrary to the Parliamentary Elections Act. The incident reportedly occurred after rowdy supporters of Lucy Achiro Otim, the newly elected Aruu North County Member of Parliament disrupted a vote recount following an application by her rival, James Kidega Nabinson. 

Obale also told Court that during the incident, Otto personally threatened to shoot and kill James Kidega Nabinson, the former National Resistance Movement Party candidate for the Aruu North parliamentary seat. The suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through their lawyers, Geoffrey Anyuru Borris of Odonga Otto, Oyuru and Company Advocates and Conrad Oloya of Legal Aid Uganda. 

The lawyers presented Chua West County MP elect, Phillip Okin Ojara and Nwoya County MP elect Simon Oyet as sureties for Odonga Otto.  They also presented Gulu District LC V Chairperson, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi and Gilbert Olanya as sureties for Lucy Achiro Otim. 

The lawyers argued that their clients were prominent public figures and were preparing for their swearing in parliament next month. Innocent Obale, the Kitgum Resident State Attorney, didn't object to the bail application, but asked court to set tough conditions for the suspects as the charges brought against them are ‘very serious' in nature. 

Isaac Rukundo, the Kitgum Grade One magistrate granted the two legislators cash bail of Shillings One Million each and asked their sureties to execute a non-cash bond of Shillings 3 Million each. He adjourned the case to May 25th, 2016 when it will return to court for mention.

Anyuru later told Uganda Radio Network that the charges of obstructing of election officers and destroying election materials are still pending the approval of the Directorate of Public Prosecution.
 
 
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Mentioned: judiciary

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.