The trio appeared on Tuesday evening before the Soroti Grade one magistrate, Fortune Nyipir after following the sanctioning of their file by the State Attorney. Nyapir charged the trio with the offence of receiving stolen property contrary to section 314 of the Penal Code Act.
Suspects taken to Court in Soroti.
Three traders arrested in connection to the
theft of hoes from Soroti City stores are on remand at Nakatunya Prison after
pleading guilty to the charges. They are Phoebe Alupo, 47, Alex Osauro, 33 and
Simon Opejo, 38.
The trio appeared on Tuesday evening before the
Soroti Grade one magistrate, Fortune Nyipir after following the sanctioning of
their file by the State Attorney. Nyapir charged the trio with the
offence of receiving stolen property contrary to section 314 of the Penal Code
Act. The suspects are among six traders arrested over
the weekend with 27 boxes containing 648 hoes.
They were the only ones in Police
custody by the time the matter made it to court. The others, including 14 Soroti city council
officials are out on police bond. The suspects pleaded guilty to the charges
and prayed for leniency on grounds that they did not know the hoes were stolen.
“I didn’t know the hoes were government property and had been stolen. I am
diabetic and I have been looking after my diabetic mother with other health
conditions. Besides, I am a single mother of seven children and two
grandchildren- all school-going children”, Alupo pleaded.
She told the court that she is servicing a loan,
which will accumulate interest if she is imprisoned. Alupo’s co-accused also
raised similar issues while praying for leniency from the court. “I am the sole
breadwinner of my family and several relatives depend on me for survival. With
this lockdown, their survival will be very difficult. If forgiven, I will never
repeat such a mistake in my life”, Simon Opejo also pleaded.
prosecutor, Michael Emasu, asked the court to give the accused deterrent sentences
to send a lesson to others involved in similar acts. “The accused
persons engaged in acts that encourage theft of government property when they
bought hoes meant for the poor communities, cheaply. This must serve as a
lesson to others engaged in similar acts”, he said.
On conviction, the offence attracts up to 14 year’s
imprisonment. According to the presiding magistrate, the trio will
return to court on September 10, 2021, for sentencing. One hundred out of 1,157
boxes of hoes supplied by the National Agriculture Advisory Services- NAADS to
Soroti City through Tianjin Machinery Co. (U) Ltd went missing from the finance
department in the city offices.
President Yoweri Museveni promised to provide
the hoes during his 2016 election bid.
Bureau Chief, Soroti
Living the Pen