PIC: The suspects in the dock at Kampala City Hall Court on Wednesday. (Credit: Wilfred Sanya)
COURT | JUSTICE
KAMPALA - The City Hall Court has further remanded to Luzira Prison six people accused of spraying harmful chemicals on meat and fish to make them appear fresh to customers.
Court was slated to sentence the group, following their confession to the charge when they appeared in court on Friday last week.
However, before the court could sentence them, three of them demanded that the charges be read to them afresh.
“We request that the charges be read to us again because we did not understand them last time,” Isma Mutebi, one of the accused, said.
Other suspects are Erias Kafumba, Isa Ssenoga, Umar Kalyango, Baker Mulondo and Ibrahim Ssekitto.
They appeared before the Grade One Magistrate Beatrice Kainza.
However, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) state attorney, Hillary Musimenta, requested the magistrate not to read the charges to the accused afresh, saying it would amount to wastage of court’s time.
“Your Worship, the particular of the charges were read to the accused and translated into Luganda. They confirmed that they had understood the charges and there is no reason why the charges should be read to them afresh,” Musimenta said.
Kainza adjourned the case until Thursday to give her ruling on whether the law allows her to read afresh charges to an accused person, who had already pleaded guilty.
The group was arrested last week from Nakasero, Nakulabye and Ntinda markets in an operation carried out by KCCA health and law enforcement officers, together with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
During the operation, it was established that the suspects spray harmful chemicals on both fish and meat to both make it look fresh and to keep flies away.
According to Musimenta, the suspects are likely to face a two-year jail term or pay a fine of not less than sh180,000.
Last week, media reports showed that several butchers in the city use chemicals to preserve meat.
Meanwhile, during a council meeting, the KCCA acting director of health services, Daniel Okello, said the Authority has discovered that the drugs are accessible at any outlet in Kampala.
He revealed that KCCA has combined efforts with the National Drug Authority (NDA), agriculture ministry and UNBS to ensure that the chemicals are put off the shelves.