The Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala granted bail to Mitooma Chief Magistrate Sylvia Nvanungi and Ssembabule State Attorney Jacqueline Bako who are facing charges of corruption.
The duo spent a night in Luzira prison after being charged and remanded on eight counts of corruption. Bako appeared on all cases while Nvanungi faces one count which she allegedly committed when she was deployed in Sembabule as a Chief Magistrate.
The Court has heard that during the month of April 2023, in Masaka City and Sembabule District, being a public official employed by the Government of Uganda as State Attorney in charge of the Resident State Attorney’s Office Sembabule and Chief Magistrate of Sembabule Chief Magistrates Court respectively in performance of their public functions solicited for gratification of 2.5 million shillings from the relatives of John Ambasize who was on remand on Ntusi CRB 034/2022 in exchange for his release on bail.
The prosecution says that during the same month, Bako solicited 2.5 million shillings from Zedakai Karinti also in exchange for bail when he was facing criminal summons in a case arising from the same file number and she allegedly received 1.48 million shillings from Franco Mulangwa as part of the offer.
Jacqueline Bako is also accused of soliciting 10 million shillings from Zedekiah Karintu in exchange for excluding him from the charge sheet where he had been charged with attempted murder, criminal trespass, and malicious damage to property. She allegedly received 7 million shillings.
She further allegedly solicited and accepted 2 million shillings from the relatives of Eric Sabiiti who is an accused on the same file to release him on bail. They appeared in court on Thursdays and applied for bail.
Jacqueline Bako presented her brother Francis Ayuko a brother, Dorcus Ndukuka her sister, and Raymond Odonga a close family friend as her sureties. She said she has been a State Attorney for 12 years and she therefore understands her obligations when granted bail.
Sylvia Nvanungi presented Robert Muwangula her brother, and Prosper Martin Turyagenda, a cousin as her sureties.
Nvanungi said she is sickly and has been undergoing treatment right from October 27th, 2023 to date, and that during the time of her arrest, she lost her valuables including her work ID and others, two medical forms submitted showing she suffers from peptic ulcers and allergy.
She has been a Judicial officer for the past eight years and is an ordinary resident of Kulabiro- Kisasi Nakawa division which is within the jurisdiction of the court. Through their lawyers, they told the Court that the charges against them were bailable.
However, the Prosecution led by Stanley Baine had opposed the application saying the offenses which the applicants were charged with must be taken into consideration because they are serious in nature and attract heavy punishments upon conviction and therefore they may abscond from trial.
He had demanded that the court impose stringent bail against the accused persons as well as their sureties.
The magistrate however dismissed the submissions of the Prosecution describing them as baseless since he had not demonstrated how severe the punishments were. She said the submissions had no merit and went ahead to grant State Attorney Bako 1.5 million shillings bail and each of her sureties 50 million shillings not cash.
Nvanungi was granted bail of 800,000 shillings cash and her sureties 40 million shillings not cash.
The trial magistrate warned that in case of the accused persons don’t show up, the sureties should be able to appear. The accused were further warned that they risk being issued with criminal imprisonment if they absconded.
She further cautioned them that if the accused persons become stubborn, their sureties should surrender them to court and they shouldn’t stop them from doing their roles as a surety. She has adjourned to January 19th, 2024.