By Sania Babirye
Buganda road court has allowed the the Director of public prosecutions to take up the case against foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa and institute criminal proceedings against him for authorizing the return back of three family members of businessman Ben Kavuyu from USA during the ongoing COVID-19 lock down.
Grade one magistrate Stellah Maris Amabilisi has also ordered that all those intending to open private prosecution against Minister Kuteesa should pass on the necessary documents and evidence to the office of the DPP who is mandated by law to institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the state .
However, the magistrate has not instituted charges against Kutesa and his co accused as sought before handing the case to the DPP which has angered a private lawyer Ronald Otee who dragged Kutesa to court .
Otee stated that he is going to appeal the premature handing over of the case to DPP without the lower court confirming the charges.
Ronald Otee with Otee and company advocates from Soroti, dragged Kutesa to Buganda road court to be privately prosecuted jointly with the three members including Barbara Kavuya the wife, his daughter Blanche Kavuya and grandson Isiah Tiba Byabashaija who returned into the country on the 18th of March through Ethiopian airline.
Through his lawyer Nicholas Opio and Derrick Tumusiime , the petitioner wanted court to draft up charges including
doing a neglect act likely to cause the spread of an infectious disease (Covid-19) and disobedience of lawful orders; which two offenses carry a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in jail upon conviction against the used.
But on Mobday, when the application came for hearing, the Director of public prosecutions through Jana Kitimbo asked court to take over the matter stating that its only the office of the DPP that can institute criminal proceedings on behalf of the government.
In his petitioner Otee claims that Kuteesa’s actions wee in breach of a Presidential Directive that bars people from flying within and out of the Country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while other Ugandans abroad including medical students in Wuhan were denied the same privilege.
Otee states that on the 24th of March the minister of health using the public health act passed an order into law prohibiting any person from entering Uganda effect from Monday 23rd of March to april 23rd which was later extended and remains into effect up to date as measures to contain the virus.
The lawyer however notes that on the 18th of May 2020, the said persons entered Uganda and continue to stay in Uganda and as a result committed a criminal offense together with minister Sam Kutesa who authorised their return via Ethiopian airline.
He says that the actions of minister Sam Kutesa to allow only that family to return home was discriminative in nature since other Ugandans who wanted to return were not given permission or those who wanted to leave.
Meanwhile, Kutesa has again authorised the son of Kavuya to escort his pregnant to AghaKhan hospital to deliver their baby through Cesarian section