Court has granted bail to Businessman Abid Alam after spending close to three weeks on remand.
Abid Alam was arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and remanded to Kitalya Government prison last month on charges of conspiring with four police officers to defeat the course of justice by unlawfully releasing confidential information regarding a case file in which he was a prime suspect.
The arrest followed reports that his agents had been involved in a number of atrocities and unlawful destruction of property in Bukoba, Kassanda District, where they were bickering with alleged squatters. The agents reportedly injured several employees of Major Arthur Mugyenyi before destroying three acres of his banana plantation, two houses and killing his animals.
His first attempt to apply for bail was thwarted when the magistrate declined to use an online conferencing app to consider the application on grounds that there is no law enabling the court to use technology. The same technology was used in today’s session, following a regulation issued by the chief justice authorizing judicial officers to use online technologies to entertain bail applications.
Alam’s legal team led by Fred Muwema argued that he is a senior citizen of Uganda, a businessman with more than 15 companies operating under Alarm group, and an Honorary Consul of Indonesia in Uganda, with no criminal record. They added that Abid Alam has a fixed place of abode at Kintu Road Nile Village in Nakasero within the jurisdictions of Buganda Road court.
According to Muwema, the nature of accusations against Abid Alam are bailable by the Magistrates Court, yet still, the punishment for the offence is not severe because it does not attract more than five years in jail.
On the basis of the plea, presiding magistrate Joan Ketty Acaa granted him a cash bail of three million Shillings, while each of his three sureties were granted a non-cash bond of 100 million Shillings. They included Businessmen Gordon Wavamuno, Kaddu Kiberu and Dr Rajan Taylor.
The Resident State Attorney Janat Kitimbo has initially challenged the substantiality of the sureties saying that their places of residence were not in jurisdictions of Buganda Road Court. But the Magistrate said that the sureties were substantial and only directed them to deposit their passports with the court.
Alam’s co-accused; Detective Superintendent of Police Wilber Osteen Wanyama, ASP Peter Muhanuzi Baitara, ASP Daniel Robert Ogwellan and Sargent Wilson Azale are still on remand in Kitalya Prison.
The case will return to court for mention on May 8, 2020.