Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court has committed five staff of Nile Treasure Gate Limited to face trial on charges of aggravated trafficking in persons before the International Crimes Division of the High Court.
The five who have been committed include the company directors Abubaker Sulaiman Kato and Muhammad Mariam, an agent Ali Hassan, the supervisor of the company Jennifer Nalunga, and a board member Salmah Muhammad.
The accused persons on Monday were committed by Nakawa Chief Magistrate Elias Kakooza after the prosecutors led by Eunice Mbaine informed court that they have finalized investigations into their case in which they are accused of trafficking one Judith Nakintu to Saudi Arabia and subsequently harvesting her kidney.
Mbaine thus tendered in court committal papers signed by Rachael Bikhole, the Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the DPP showing part of the evidence they are going to rely on to prosecute the accused persons.
The evidence presented shows that Nakintu who had been working as a housemaid in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia since December 2019 was suspiciously returned to Uganda with the right kidney missing. However, her family was informed that she was involved in an accident, although the nature of the accident was not revealed.
Nakintu’s medical documents from Saudi Arabia indicated she was involved in a motor accident and sustained a kidney rupture. But Nakintu’s relatives accused Nile Treasure Gate, a Kiwatule-based labour export company of conspiring with medics in Saudi Arabia to illegally remove her kidney and disguise the incident as a road accident.
According to prosecutors, the accused persons together with their company and others still at large, between December 2019 and October 2021 in Uganda and Saudi Arabia were involved in a syndicated crime of recruiting and transporting Nakintu for purposes of exploitation.
They reportedly connived to remove Nakintu’s kidney which made her suffer mutilation or life-threatening illness and the suspects abused their power and authority to execute that mission through fraud or deceit.
According to the evidence, the accused persons after sensing trouble, devised a tactic of silencing the matter by offering the victim and her family 30 million shillings, intended to make the already vulnerable family passive.
“When the victim’s family rejected the offer, the accused instead came up with a theory that the victim had gotten involved in an accident on March 4th 2020 in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. They further alleged that in that accident, the victim’s boss lost his two children namely Litin Sad Dhafer Al Asmari aged 10 years and Said Saad Dhafer Muhamed Al Asmari aged seven years leaving others like Saad Dhafer, Faiza Nasir Abdallah Al shihri, Nura Saad Dhafer Muhamad Al Asmari injured”, reads the committal papers.
The documents add that the accused alleged that the victim’s dire condition was as a result of the accident and not the illegal organ harvest.
The evidence further shows that when the relatives of Nakintu mounted pressure on the company, she was returned to the county in October 2021 and when they did a medical check-up on her at Mulago National Referral Hospital, it was found that her right kidney was missing.
The DPP now states that she will among others rely on documentary evidence such as the medical reports of the victim dated November 1st 2021, conducted by Mulago’s Radiologist Dr Sharif Kikomeko, numerous reports conducted while in Saudi Arabia and photographs of Nakintu before she travelled and her passport to prosecute her case against the accused persons.
The DPP further contends that she will tender in court Certificate of Incorporation including articles of Association of the company from Uganda Registration Services Bureau, correspondences from Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development licensing external recruitment of the company and others suspending their operations, Nakintu’s counseling reports and the charge and caution statement for the accused among others.
According to the DPP, during the hearing, she will argue that the accused persons have no defense whatsoever and they should therefore be convicted as charged.
According to the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009, a person convicted of human trafficking faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
But the accused persons in this case still maintain their innocence and denied the charges right way from the day they were arraigned in Court in February 2022 and have since then been on remand in Luzira prison.
On January 30th 2022, Nakintu was awarded 270 million shillings by a Court in Saudi Arabia for the loss of her kidney.
The Parliament of Uganda recently proposed tougher penalties for people found engaging themselves in organ trade in the country.