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The UPDF officers who were arrested on Thursday 24th March at Hotel Africana Kampala in possession of Ivory were on 4th April 2016 charged by the Buganda road court chief magistrate James Ereemye.

They were charged with three counts relating to illegal possession of 12 pieces of ivory. Corporal Kamugisha Collins attached to Entebbe Airport Brigade, Major Rutagira and three civilians were arraigned in court to take plea.

The counts include the unlawful possession of protected species, accepting transfer of protected species and conspiracy to commit a felony to wit being in possession of protected species.

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Also read: Uganda’s Tourism in a freefall, several Para Lodges on sale

The law does not allow the hunting and trading wildlife and wildlife products or any other activities of alike nature, which involve the utilization of wildlife and wildlife products without first obtaining a grant of a wildlife use right.

Also read: Six senior UPDF officers arrested in Ivory Trafficking

Court heard that the accused and others still at large on March 24, at Hotel Africana in Kampala, were found in unlawful possession of 12 pieces of ivory weighing 19.015kgs, and valued at sh 129.3m.
According to the prosecution led by the resident state attorney, Jonathan Muwaganya all the accused conspired to commit the crime.

Others facing the same charges with the army officers are Simon Mbonye, 53 a resident of Rusisiro village,Mabungo parish in Kisoro district, Alex Sande,45,aresident Nyaburemera in Kiggundu sub-county Kisoro district and Silva Kiiza 54 a peasant and resident of Rutokye Bitereko in Mitooma district.

also read: Three juvenile Crested Cranes rescued from traffickers in Rukungiri

Kamugisha and Rutagira through their lawyer Anthony Wameli applied for bail and presented two and three sureties respectively, Muwamanya objected to the application, stating that the sureties for Kamugisha were not substantial civilians who might not have the capacity to compel him to report to court in case he absconded.

In his ruling Ereemye granted Kamugisha cash bail of sh 2m and bonded his three sureties at sh 10m not cash. He however remanded Rutagira after finding that the introductory letters and the national identity cards of his sureties bore inconsistencies.

The other trio had no lawyers to represent them but tried to apply for bail which the magistrate deferred due to luck of documentation introducing there sureties, they were all remanded until April for bail and hearing.

related: Poaching: three arrested with 45kg of Ivory in Karuma Game Reserve

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