Crime

Lawyer Opiyo Bail Application Hearing Adjourned

The hearing of lawyer Nicholas Opiyo’s bail application has been rescheduled to Wednesday, December 30.

Opiyo, who faces money laundering charges under section 3 (c) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, appeared at Buganda Road Court via a video link from Kitalya prison where he is held.

The prosecution asked for more time to allow deeper investigations into the matter.

Opiyo’s lawyer, David Mpanga, protested the state’s move, saying, “It is not the place of this court to provide cover and entertain detention without trial.”

He said prosecution’s requests for adjournment should not be taken for granted.

Mpanga wondered why Opiyo wasn’t granted police considering that investigations into his case were incomplete.

The defence counsel said the continued detention of Opiyo was beginning to look like a punishment.

Meanwhile, the state asked to drop the charge of failure to file annual returns to the NGO board.

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The next mention of the case has been fixed on January 11 but court said Opiyo can apply before bail before the High Court.

Opiyo, the Executive Director of Chapter 4 Uganda, was charged before Nakawa Magistrates Court on December 24, 2020, with money laundering and failure to file returns with authorities.

However, court said it didn’t have jurisdiction over the matter before referring the case to the Anti-corruption court before remanding him to Kitalya.

Activists today gathered at the Anti-Corruption Court and Buganda Road Court for the hearing of the case which has attracted local and international attention with human rights groups calling for Opiyo’s release.

The government alleges Opiyo acquired USD 340,000 through ABSA bank in the names of Chapter Four Uganda knowing that the said funds were proceeds of crime, a claim Chapter 4 Uganda denies.

Chapter Four is a human rights organization registered as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the NGO Bureau and as a company limited by guarantee with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

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