Sureties Abandon MP Odonga Otto, Lucy Aciro

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In short
Chua West Member of Parliament Phillip Okin Ojara and Gulu district chairman Ojara Martin Mapenduzi were part of a group issued with arrest warrants for failing to ensure that Otto and Aciro appear before court in Kitgum.

Chua West Member of Parliament Phillip Okin Ojara and Gulu district chairman Ojara Martin Mapenduzi have withdrawn from being sureties to Aruu South MP Samuel Odonga Otto and former Aruu North MP Lucy Aciro.

The two were part of a group issued with arrest warrants for failing to ensure that Otto and Aciro appear before court in relation to the destruction of election materials at Pader Police Station early this year. Others are Gilbert Olanya (Kilak County) and Simon Oyet (Nwoya County).

The matter stems from the destruction of boxes containing ballot papers from the Aruu North parliamentary election. The ballots were due for a recount following a petition filed by James Nabinson Kidega against the declaration of Lucy Aciro as a validly elected Member of Parliament for the area.

However, a group of supporters, which had been allowed at Pader Central Police premises to witness loading of the ballot boxes onto the Electoral Commission vehicle, grabbed the boxes and destroyed the seals leading to the suspension of the recount on February 29.

Achiro, who later lost the parliamentary seat on the same ground, was charged together with Odonga Otto and five others, for inciting violence, threatening violence, destruction of electoral materials and obstruction of election officers.  They were granted cash bail of 1 million Shillings and ordered to return to court on June 28.

Chua West MP Phillip Okin Ojara and Nwoya County MP Simon Oyet stood surety for Odonga Otto while Kilak county MP Gilbert Olanya and Gulu district Chairman Martin Ojara Mapenduzi stood surety for Achiro.

However, while the five other suspects; Achiro Christine, Ajok Irene, Okot James, Olanya Bosco and Tokeema Bosco, appeared before court last week, Odonga Otto and Lucy Achiro did not turn up prompting arrest warrants for them and their sureties.  The warrants were issued by Kitgum Grade One Magistrate Isaac Rukundo.

However, amid the controversy, Okin told URN in an interview this morning that he has opted out of the case. He said he holds several commitments which may not enable him to effect his role as a surety.
 
Cue in I have withdrawn from the caseā€¦
cue out ''I decided to withdraw''
 
Meanwhile Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, who went to Kitgum Court today, told URN that the arrest warrants were invalid because he had already written to the court showing interest in revoking his commitment. He said his busy schedule may not allow him to pursue the people on trial and ensure that they appear in court as, and when they are wanted.
Kilak County MP Gilbert Olanya said he is still consulting on the matter.