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Tuesday,October 20,2020 07:37 AM

Baby swap saga: Medic charged

By Michael Odeng

Added 10th August 2020 03:35 PM

Baby swap saga: Medic charged

Senkoomi (right) and another suspect enter a Police van

A clinical officer accused of swapping a baby at Kamic Medical Centre in Kawempe, a Kampala suburb, has been charged at the Nabweru Chief Magistrates' Court. 
On March 21, this year, an investigation by Vision Group revealed that George Ssenkoomi allegedly swapped a live baby boy with a dead one. He reportedly gave Pastor Raymond Magge and his wife Patience Biwaga of Yesu Akwagala Ministries in Kawempe, a live baby, and told the real parents — Gloria Awino and Rogers Egonga — that their child had died. 
A few days later, after the burial, Egonga and Awino found out that the baby they had buried was not theirs. 
On Thursday last week, Senkoomi, 30, a radiographer and director of Kamic Medical Centre, appeared before Grade One Magistrate Patricia Amoko and denied the charge of operating a health unit without a valid licence. 
He is facing the charges under Section (47) (f) of Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Act. 
According to the Act, any person who commits the offence is liable, on conviction, to a fine of not less than sh300,000 and not more than  sh3m or imprisonment for not less than three months and not more than one year or both. 
However, an official from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Police is still investigating the swapped baby case. 
According to court documents, Senkoomi and others still at large, in March this year at Kawempe in Kampala district, were found operating a health unit known as Kamic Medical Centre without a valid licence. 
State prosecutor Chris Kahiidwe informed the court that investigations in the matter were complete and asked the court to adjourn the case for mention. This prompted the magistrate to remand Senkoomi to Kitalya Prison until August 18, when he will re-appear in court for his bail application hearing.
Discovering the swap
Egonga was informed by Senkoomi's colleague, Dr Pius Rwamafa, that the baby he had buried was not his. 
He immediately reported the matter to Kawempe Police Station and the pastors were arrested and also told to hand over the baby. However, they were released on Police bond two days later. 
Police investigations indicate that DNA results from the Government Analytical Laboratory and MBN Clinical Laboratories in Nakasero, a private facility, showed that the real parents are the Egonga family.
Similar case
In a separate case, before the same court, Acleo Byamukama, 32, a businessman and resident of Kiwatule in Kampala, was charged and remanded to Kitalya Prison over allegedly obtaining money by false pretence and impersonation. The offence of obtaining money by false pretence attracts a maximum sentence of a fi ve-year imprisonment, on conviction, while impersonation elicits a seven year jail term.
Prosecution alleges that the accused, on June 8, 2020, at Kawempe Hospital, with intent to defraud and not being employed by the hospital, obtained sh200,000 from Geraldine Nayabale, an expectant mother. They pretended that the money was to facilitate the doctor carrying out an elective caesarean operation on her, whereas not. The prosecution alleges that Byamukama, in the same period with intent to defraud a patient, Nayabale, falsely represented himself to a theatre assistant, Fausta Namutebi, as Dr Silver, whereas not.
State House intervenes 
On June 18, this year, the State House AntiCorruption Unit head, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, quizzed two senior Police officers involved in the case over delayed investigations. Nakalema grilled SP Cherry Mbabazi, the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department boss and John Bosco Opio, the officer in charge of Kawempe Police Station, for close to two hours at her office in Kampala. 
"My concern is that the incident happened on March 22, but no action was taken until Dr Lwamafa intervened, yet the case was reported to Kawempe Police Station," Nakalema said. 
She added: "From January, when Lwamafa joined the medical centre, he noticed criminal activities at the facility, including abortions, conducted day and night." Nakalema also wondered why the suspects — Senkoomi, Magge and Biwaga — were released on Police bond so quickly and were forced to negotiate with the parents of the live baby.

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