Press Release: Major Suspected Ivory Kingpin Released in Kenya (21.08.2015)

Interpol

Nairobi, Kenya, Friday, August 21st 2015: WildlifeDirect has today expressed its deep disappointment at the release of suspected ivory Kingpin Feisal Mohamed Ali. He and five others are charged with trafficking 2 tons of ivory that was seized in Mombasa on the 5th of June 2014. He had escaped to Tanzania where he remained a fugitive for 7 months before arrest, following a red notice issued by Interpol. The ruling by court magistrate Honourable Davis Karani allows him to leave Shimo la Tewa prison where he has been held since 23rd of December 2014. The terms for his release are that he pays a bond of Kshs. 10 Million (USD 100,000) and a surety of the same amount.

The decision today by the lower magistrates court contradicts a decision on 7th July just a month ago by the High Court of Kenya in Mombasa which emphasized that he (Feisal Mohamed Ali) was a flight risk. Honourable Karani today said he sees no reason why Feisal should remain in custody.

The trial which commenced four days ago (17th August 2015) follows a protracted inquiry into the disappearance of evidence in the case; 9 motor vehicles which are suspected to have been used in the crime that were under police protection. The prosecution revealed that they intend to call witnesses who are under state witness protection program.

This trial is a major test case of the newly created Wildlife Prosecution Unit under the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the only unit of its kind in Eastern and Central Africa that was formed as a result of the rising cases of major transnational wildlife crime.

WildlifeDirect Chairman Philip Murgor expressed his disappointment

‘’This is the most unaccepted and unfortunate decision that a lower court can overturn the decision of the High Court. It undermines all the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as Interpol to bring the fugitive to face justice in Kenya’’

Mr. Murgor is the former head of Public Prosecutions.

Today the prosecution asked the trial magistrate Honourable Karani to recuse himself from the case but the magistrate declined.

As Kenyans reacted to the shocking news, the ODPP kept concerned citizens updated with tweets:

“we at ODPP are all shocked & disappointed by the outcome @ODPP_KE @paulakahumbu”

“JUST IN ;Magistrate refuse to stay release order &defers ruling on his disqualification until Hct decide on bail !”
And “the team in Mombasa have been in the trenches on a daily basis over this matter & they extremely disappointed

The ODPP through Assistant Director of Prosecutions Mr.Muteti has indicated that he is filing an urgent application at the high court to overturn the bond ruling and apply for the magistrate to be recused from the case.

Editor’s Note
WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan NGO and US registered 501(c) (3) organization. Hands Off Our Elephants, the flagship campaign of WildlifeDirect and it is patroned by Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, the First lady of Kenya. The organization has been at the forefront of driving legal reforms in Kenya and East Africa. The CEO of WildlifeDirect is Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Elizabeth Gitari is the Legal Affairs Manager.

For more information, Please contact Elizabeth Gitari at egitari@wildlifedirect.orgor +254 723 419 706

Uganda – Amendments to the ‘Anti-Corruption Bill 2013’ – Important changes to the existing law

2005_uganda_corruption_presser

It’s a proposed new amendment ‘Anti-Corruption Bill 2013’ that is dated back to 13th July of 2013. I will take the basic understanding of how the bill will be and what it can do if it gets into effect. The person behind this bill is Hon. John Ssimbwa who is MP of Makindye Division East. On the 7th of July 2015 this got passed in Parliament!

The important issues from the Memorandum:

First part is that is an extension and amendment of the ‘Anti-Corruption Bill 2009’. One of the main objectives of the bill is that the property of the offender the government can confiscate that from that legal person. That property will be controlled by the government and management by the public trustee appointment by the Minister in accordance with the Public Trust Act. One defect with the existing law is how to prove that set property was earned by the corrupt actions or indirectly by it. Because of this there is the reason for the amendment to the existing law.

Second part is how you define “property” and “political leader” which will entail more and describe broader in the new law after the amendment. In the new one the “political leader will be broaden the scope of the offence that caused the financial lost. Also figuring in “a company” to prove there are two “actors” in the actions of embezzlement, graft or general corruption. One new clause is also to incorporate Inspector General of Government (IGG) to service the court. And give more power to the Dirctorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) and IGG which will together restrict the owner of the bank accounts of the accused person. New clause is also to the persons who refuse to comply or give information to Special Investigator; with failure to follow the recommendation of the police will be incriminated, because with existing law there isn’t any response to it for the government. If for certain that a person is convicted for corruption for mandatory confiscation of any property to the person. And also in the amendment the person who will lose his property after being convicted will pay the cost for the transfer of the actual property.

Important changes:
From Section 20 setting in: “A person employed by the government, a bank, a credit institution, an insurance company, a company, a public body or political leader, who in the performance of his and her duties, does any act knowing or having reason to believe that the act or omission will cause financial loss to the Government, bank, credit institution, insurance company, a company, or public body commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three hundred and thirty six currency points or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years or both”.

From Section 63A:

  • Take possession and custody of any property under restraining or confiscation order:
  • Manage any property in respect of which he or she has been appointed a public trustee: or
  • Appoint the owner of the property to manage the property affected by a restraining order under the supervision of the Public Trustee:

(2) A Public Trustee appointed under this Act shall not be liable to any civil proceedings for any act done in good faith in the performance of his or her duty”.

From Section of 63B and G4A:

“The Minister shall make regulations for remuneration for the public trustee appointed under this act.” (…) “Where the court orders confiscation of property under section 64, the cost of enforcing the order shall be paid by convicted person”.

From the Section of 65:

“A Person is taken to have absconded if reasonable attempts to arrest the person under a warrant have been unsuccessful during the period of six months commencing on the day the warrant was issued, and the person shall taken to have absconded on the last day of that period”. 

Meeting between Public Trust Act and the Amendment of the Anti-Corruption Act:

What these amendments to the existing laws is focusing on the property of the convicted person and how it all will be transferred to a Trustee Fund. This fund will be in power of the Government with the Inspectorate of General of Government and Dictorate of Public Prosecution will be in charge of. In the end this leaves more funds and properties into the government that will transfers from convicted persons and companies to the Trustee Fund.

A matter remain on the ‘Public Trustee Act of 1937’ has some issues and therefore need to amendment to see what the government of Uganda need to recover the embezzled money and property. The law in general is setting the standard on how the trusts are set up.

First section: “The Minister, by notice in the Gazette, may appoint some fit and proper person to be public trustee for Uganda, and may in like manner appoint a deputy or deputies to assist him or her, and every deputy so appointed shall, subject to the control of the public trustee, be competent to discharge any of the duties and exercise any of the powers of the public trustee, and when discharging those duties, or exercising those powers, shall have the same privileges and be subject to the same liabilities as the public trustee”.

Third Section: “An agent shall, in all respects, act under the direction of the public trustee who shall not be answerable for any act or omission on the part of the agent which is not in conformity with the power or duty delegated by the public trustee or which shall not have happened by the public trustee’s own fault or neglect” (…) “An agent, other than an officer of the Government, shall find security to the satisfaction of the public trustee for the performance of his or her duties and may be remunerated either by salary or such fees as the Minister may from time to time by rule prescribe”.

Fourth Section: “The public trustee shall not accept any trust under any composition or scheme or arrangement for the benefit of creditors nor of any estate known or believed by him or her to be insolvent”.

Sixth section: “When the public trustee has been appointed trustee under any will, the executor of the will or the administrator of the estate concerned, after obtaining probate or letters of administration with will annexed, shall immediately notify the appointment to the public trustee in writing, and shall supply him or her with a certified copy of the will and of any trust instrument and other documents affecting the trust, and such particulars as to the nature and value of the trust property, and the liabilities, if any, attaching to such property or the holder of the property, and the names, ages and addresses of any beneficiaries under the trust, and such other information as the public trustee may consider desirable to obtain in any particular case”.

Seventh section: “If any property is subject to a trust, other than a trust which the public trustee is prohibited from accepting under the provisions of this Act, and there is no trustee within the limits of Uganda willing or capable to act in the trust, the court may on the application of any interested party or of the public trustee make an order for the appointment of the public trustee to be the trustee of such property; but where the application is not made by the public trustee, no such order shall be made without his or her consent”.

We can see the difference between the new law and the older Public Trustee Act of 1937 and the amendment on the Anti-Corruption Bill, which deals with the property of a felon and the consent part of transfer of the property. Especially when you see how it set limits on the government and how the applications of the public trustee where it specifically says in the Act of 1937: “no such order shall be made without his or her consent” while the Anti-Corruption Act Amendment says: “From Section 63A:

  • Take possession and custody of any property under restraining or confiscation order:
  • Manage any property in respect of which he or she has been appointed a public trustee: or
  • Appoint the owner of the property to manage the property affected by a restraining order under the supervision of the Public Trustee:

(2) A Public Trustee appointed under this Act shall not be liable to any civil proceedings for any act done in good faith in the performance of his or her duty”.

From Section of 63B and G4A:

“The Minister shall make regulations for remuneration for the public trustee appointed under this act.” (…) “Where the court orders confiscation of property under section 64, the cost of enforcing the order shall be paid by convicted person”.

As you see this gives the state a possibility to order and confiscate of property from the convicted person and also get the payment for the transfer of the actual property. So if this comes to effect and can take possession of it or custody when the person is under restraining. The Public Trustee will be under the IGG and follow the orders of the DPP.  This gives more power then what they currently have. So that the Directorates and Public Prosecutor get more powers when they have apprehended a suspect and get either suspend their money in accounts and also transfer the property of the convicted person.

This means those people that will get a stronger punishment and that the Public Trusts will soar in Uganda, if the IGG does it jobs and get bigger cases through the courts. This means that the minister who is in charge and making the Public Trustee funds has to be sober and in-charge to keep up his conduct and the supervision of the fund after transferring the actual property and freezing of the accounts.

It would be interesting to see the implicated changes of the law and also how the minister and Inspectorate of General of Government has to be sure that the property and accounts are parts of the charge. If these extra charges will make a difference in Uganda, is only time to tell because the way it will be seen is the actual results and if it benefits the court systems. Secondly if the transfers of properties and accounts go well, then the Government might over time get vast amount of monies from different accounts and also grand properties if the functions and prosecutions of corrupt politicians, governments’ officials, civil servants and businessmen get caught. Therefore the Trustee Fund under the Minister will be a giant over time and also need more resources to have accountability over it. Something that is natural with the pending issues and convicted people that will be hurt by this law if this amendment will be a new reality in Uganda. Peace.

Reference:

Bill Supplement No. 3 – Bill No. 7: THE ANTI-CORRUPTION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2013 (13.07.2013) in Uganda Gazette No. 34. Volume CVI dated 5th July 2013, UPPC, Entebbe Uganda Ordered by the Government.

THE PUBLIC TRUSTEE ACT of 1937 – Chapter 161

Uganda – DPP for sale – Secret mail confirm prices of law enforcement (03.04.2015)

Observer

Updates: Rwenzururu Kingdom on the events in Kasese and Bundibugyo skirmishes

Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu PM Noah Nzaghale being led away by police and military. Photo: Ronald Kato7Twitter

Fred Enaga the Police Spokesman confirmed that 113 people are accused and arrested in connection with Bundibugyo and Kasese (SMSMedia, 2014).

The Top officials from the Rwenzururu Kingdom who is in police custody:

–          Premier Minister Noah Nzaghale

–          Deputy Premier Yeremiya Mutooro

–          Chairperson of Rwenzururu Youth Wing: Erisinana Mberamu

–          Minister of Tourism: Yoramu Mulema

–          The chairperson of Rwenzururu War Veterans

–          Chief of Omusinga(king) on Security

(SMSMedia, 2014)

Fred Enaga commentes: “All the files of the suspects are in their advanced stage and awaiting the advice of the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP). They will be arraigned in court today (Friday) or early next week on charges of treason and concealing treason”(…)”They have all recorded statements indicating that they had a hand in the attacks”(…)”But if our investigations reveal that he (Omusinga Mumbere) was also involved in the attacks, then the law will take its course”(…)”two more people, including the minister of information and another person who allegedly helped the attackers to procure a witchdoctor from Democratic Republic of Congo have been arrested and detained at Kasese Central police station” (SMSMedia, 2014).

More information from the Police:

Police say they have recovered 10 guns, 9 magazines and tear gas canisters stolen from them during the attack in Bundibugyo district on Saturday (UgandaRadioNetwork, 2014).

Polly Namaye says: “that police has not under any circumstance attempted to summon or arrest the king” (…)” however does not rule out the possibility of summoning the king in connection with the recent attacks on the Rwenzori region that claimed over 90 people” (…)” that the kingdom Prime Minister Noah Nzaghale, and two other kingdom officials are still under police custody” (KFM, 2014).

Some News and reports, which I  cannot say the completed source line, but still interesting in the matters of things:

The Group fighting in the Rwenzori region has accused the government of misleading the people on the cause of fighting.

The Group says they are fighting a full scale war against the regime and have released the following numbers from recent fighting:

1 -In the first attack on Mubende police barracks, 9 policemen were killed and 42 guns captured. No causality on the attackers.

2 -The attack on Bundibujo army barracks, 214 guns,17 Machines and ammunition were taken, 192 soldiers were killed, attackers suffered 3 causalities.

3 -At Ntoroko 4 Soldiers were killed, guns taken

4 -At Kaso and weighbridge a total of 24 guns were taken and Three Soldiers killed.

According to the message from this Group, they described Museveni statement on the conflict as a meandering mind of a tired and deranged man. 

Will adress it more when I have more information.

Peace!

A Bit more: 

“All the files of the suspects are in their advanced stage and awaiting the advice of the Director for Public Prosecution.” – Rwenzori suspected attackers face treason charges.

Links:

KFM.co..ug – ‘Rwenzururu King could be summoned’ (11.07.2014) Link:http://kfm.co.ug/news/rwenzururu-king-could-be-summoned.html

SMSMEDIA – ‘Suspected Rwenzori attackers face treason charges’ (11.07.2014) Link: http://smsmedia.ug/2014/07/suspected-rwenzori-attackers-face-treason-charges/

UgandaRadioNetwork – ‘Security Recovers 10 Guns Stolen In Bundibugyo Attacks’ (11.07.2014) Link: http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=65267

Photo Link:

https://twitter.com/RonnieKulabako/status/487142020038008832/photo/1

Dr. Kizza Besigye statements on the shootings of the UPDF barracks in Rwenzori region

“Most security organs have their own problems and soon this will result into a revolution. In fact in the army there is now a section in the opposition and another on the ruling side” (…)”Even if the president says he is the ‘’Ssabalwanyi’ and doesn’t want to hear about this, the revolution will be here”(…)”It’s Museveni everywhere. He is the sole candidate in his own party and doesn’t want any other person to stand. The NRM has taken over army, police, courts, Uganda Revenue Authority, DPP and all the government institutions” (…)”I have talked about this issue since 2001 and if nothing changes, the revolution is on the doorway. I may not be in position to tell what time but according to my understanding, the revolution is on the way” (…)”Everything possible should be done to show government that enough is enough. I am preaching to Ugandans to rebel against government because it’s not unlawful. It’s their right if government has failed to address their problems” (…)”This is the right time and if you hear the whistle blown, start right there and in fact we shall soon be moving around the country to tell you more about the looming revolution” (Kazibwe, 2014).

Links:

Kazibwe, Kenneth – EXCLUSIVE: Besigye Warns of ‘Imminent Revolution’ (07.07.2014), Links: http://chimpreports.com/index.php/special-reports/22712-exclusive-besigye-warns-of-imminent-revolution.html