Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDNT | The Buganda Road Magistrates Court has granted a cash bail of one million shillings to the President of Uganda Netball Federation (UNF), Sarah Babirye Kityo who is facing charges of obtaining money by false pretense.
Babirye on Wednesday evening was granted bail alongside her co accused, a businesswoman Zainab Namutebi by Grade One Magistrate Siena Owomugisha following a successful application by their lawyers.
The lawyers Blair Atwebembeire and Albert Muhumuza asked Court to grant their clients bail on the basis that the charges against them are bailable and that they are still innocent until proven guilty.
Court has heard that the accused persons have a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of Buganda Road Court and have presented before Court their introduction letters from their respective Local Council One Chairpersons to confirm their residences. They each presented two sureties.
Babirye has presented her Fiance Daniel Kisekka a Sports Agent and her friend Dorothy Lwanga as her sureties while Namutebi has presented her friends Enoch Ekabu and Bob Katumba as her sureties.
The State Attorney Joan Keko didn’t object to their bail application. She noted however that in the event court is inclined to grant her bail, court should take cognisance of the monies involved in the trial and prayed for stringent terms to be imposed against her.She had earlier informed court that investigations into this case are still ongoing and asked for a hearing date.
As a result, the Magistrate Owomugisha has allowed the application and asked the sureties of Namutebi and Babirye to each execute a non cash bond of 4 million shillings.
Owomugisha has emphasized that should any of the accused persons abscond from trial, she will be arrested and ordered to pay 10 million shillings cash and be imprisoned for a term that will be decided then.
She has now adjourned the case to June 6th for hearing to commence and issued witness summons requiring them to come and testify on that day.
The Prosecution alleges that Namutebi and Babirye and others still at large in the month of May 2022 at Kampala district obtained 8 million shillings from Sarah Wamala by falsely pretending that she was going to take her son to the United States whereas-not.
It is also alleged that during the same time and place, the accused also obtained another 8 million shillings from Gloria Kikomeko Nantambi whom they also defrauded that they would take her to the United States. But the duo has denied the charges against them.
But the accused persons who were arrested on Monday and spent two nights in Luzira Prison have since denied the charges against them hence the release on bail.
Babirye who is the former Youth Member of Parliament representing the Central Region is currently on a three months’ leave from her office as the Uganda Netball Federation President. She was sent on leave to allow a special committee instituted by the Minister of Sports and Education Janet Kataaha Museveni to investigate allegations of abuse of office and financial mismanagement.
The directive placed Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso as the interim President of the Federation, which is currently preparing the She Cranes for the Netball World Championships.
The Police has since February 2023 been investigating the Federation over alleged financial mismanagement that stemmed from funds released by the National Council for Sports (NCS) for the 2021 Pent Series in Namibia which Uganda won.
The General Secretary of National Council of Sports (NCS), Dr. Bernard Ogwel has since revealed that the Federation of Netball had defrauded the Ugandan government because the Namibian government had already covered all expenses for the netball delegation, including full board expenses for 17 members during the Pent Series.
He said the Council had paid air tickets worth sh127 million for the She Cranes, which the netball body allegedly failed to acknowledge in their accounts.
But the politician cum sports lady Babirye denied the allegations, saying the Netball body had received only 186 million and had accounted for it in time. She said Ogwel has been repeatedly asking for kickbacks from their federation whenever funds are allocated to the She Cranes.
She cited their trip to South Africa in 2021 for the Male Netball Championship where Ogwel reportedly demanded 40 Million Shillings out of the Shillings 100 million allocated for the championship.
According to Babirye, although the Federation’s top leadership agreed not to pay the kickback, the Vice president, Richard Muhumuza, and General Secretary, Amina Mande defied the resolution and paid Dr. Ogwel 30 million Shillings, meant for the player’s allowances.
The Deputy Inspector General of Government Patricia Okiria Achan has since ordered Ogwel to pay 100 Million Shillings to the Uganda Netball Federation.