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UPDF soldier, five others in forest encroachment case granted bail

By Ismael Kasooha

Added 25th October 2018 03:05 PM

Ruzindana and his five workers pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them in court.

COURT
 
KIBAALE-Grade I magistrate court has granted bail to Captain Tonny Ruzindana, 50 a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) soldier, who is accused of encroaching on a forest reserve, together with his five workers.
 
Court presided over by Emmanuel Niyokwizera heard that Captain Ruzindana, a resident of Kasojo village, Butoologo Sub County in Mubende district and his five casual laborers encroached on Nyakarongo central forest reserve located in Kyebando Sub County Kibaale district.
 
Prosecution told court that on the October 19, Ruzindana together with his workers, encroached on Nyakarongo central forest reserve.
The suspects were arrested by a joint force of the Police and National Forestry Authority (NFA) for illegally lumbering.
 
Prosecution told court that cutting of timber from a central forest reserve is illegal under section 14 and 32 of the forest and tree planting act of 2003 which prohibits any activities in the central forest reserves.
 
Whoever contravenes section 14 of the forest and tree planting act of 2003 is liable to imprisonment not exceeding five years or payment of not more than 50 currency points or both.
 
Section 32 of the forest and tree planting act of 2003 provides for a payment of a fine not exceeding 30 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or both in case one contravenes it.
 
Ruzindana and his five workers pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them in court. 
 
The Grade I Magistrate Emmanuel Niyokwizera had granted bail to only Captain Ruzindana on grounds that the Captain is of advanced age, but the same court which sat on Thursday morning also granted a non cash bail of sh1m to the other five suspects.
 
Here are the reasons given by the suspects in quest for bail 
Paul Luutu told court that his wife, Mouren Tumuhairwe is pregnant and depends on him for a living, where Tumuhairwe stood surety for her husband in court.  
 
Yakub Migadde told court that he is weak in the chest and Rashid Mukisa a businessman stood surety for him. 
 
Matia Setabi also claimed that he has 11 children who depend on him, adding that in his absence, they would not be able to afford food. He presented Sarapio Faida a peasant as his surety. 
 
Joseph Kapere 18 told court that his parents died and he is the breadwinner of his four siblings. He presented his niece, Kasifa Nakakawa, as his surety. 
 
On the other hand, Edward Ategeka, 18 pleaded to court that his wish was to go back to school because he was searching for school fees. 
The accused are expected back in court for hearing on the November20. 
 

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