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Witness pins Arua Hospital staff for theft of ambulance

Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A prosecution witness has pinned staff from Arua Regional Referral Hospital and others still at large for participating in the theft of the host ambulance.

In December 2021, the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court charged Alex Wadia, a driver at the hospital, Mathew Ewaru, a security guard at the hospital, and Denis Ocatre, a volunteer dental assistant, and others with five offences, including abuse of office, corruption, causing loss of public property, theft and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Samuel Philliam Alionzi, a detective currently attached to Rhino Camp Police Post in Madi Okollo district, testified on Tuesday before the Anti-Corruption Principal Grade One Magistrate, Moses Nabende Mushebebe.

Alionzi testified that he was directed to join the investigation team, which included Enos Odong, the former officer in charge of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in Arua, and Alfred Okello, a detective in the department, after the matter was reported to police on March 29, 2021.

He recorded statements from key suspects, including Moses Baguma alias Alutu, a motorcycle seller in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Baguma confessed to participating in the theft of the ambulance and explained that his role was to look for a market for the stolen vehicle in Congo. According to Alionzi, another suspect, Denis Ocatre, revealed that the plan to steal the vehicle was set for Saturday, March 27, 2021, after they secured a buyer in Congo.

Ocatre made an arrangement with Mathew Ewaru, a security guard at the hospital, who gave him the key to the hospital gate near Ediofe road junction. Alionzi further testified that three of the suspects, including Philliam Dramani, a driver at the Office of the Prime Minister Arua and the brother of one of the key suspects, Alex Wadia, drove the ambulance out of the hospital yard in their company.

Moses Baguma remained behind to lock the gate and later followed them on a motorcycle. The suspects drove the ambulance via Euata center along the Arua-Pakwach Highway up to the Uganda-DR Congo border. They then linked up with Baguma at Awara College, a secondary school in Ayivu division in Arua city, and picked up two strangers.

Ocatre testified that the strangers told him to leave since he looked worried, while the other suspects remained behind. Wadia testified that he was instructed by Yonas Oboth, the former senior hospital administrator at Arua Hospital, to look for a market for one of the ambulances.

Wadia confessed that he duplicated the key for the ambulance UG 6812M in Kampala for 30,000 Ugandan shillings. The prosecution, led by Gloria Inzikuru, will present more witnesses before the defense lawyers can start submitting their defense. The hearing of the matter will continue later today.



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