Nakintu’s Suspected Kidney Harvesters Out on Bail

Five people accused of illegally harvesting a kidney from Judith Nakintu, a former immigrant worker are out on bail. The five appeared Tuesday before Lady Justice Susan Okalany in the International Crimes Division of the High Court. 

They are Abubaker Sulaiman Kato and Muhammad Mariam, both directors of Nile Treasure Gate Company Limited, their agent Ali Hassan, the supervisor of the company, Jennifer Nalunga, and board member, Salmah Muhammad. Justice Okalany granted them a cash bail of Shillings 5 million each.

The group, which has been on remand for more than a year is battling charges of aggravated trafficking when they allegedly used deceitful means to recruit, send, receive, and confine Nakintu in Saudi Arabia for the purpose of removing her left kidney in a disguised accident, which has since caused her to suffer mutilation and a life-threatening illness.  

According to the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka who instituted the charge against the suspects, the accused persons abused their power and authority and committed the said offenses between December 2019 and October 2021 in Kampala -Uganda, and Saudi Arabia. However, the suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges and applied for bail through their lawyers led by Caleb Alaka in April 2022 on grounds of ill health, which necessitated them to get treatment outside prison.   

They also argued that they spent ten days at Jinja Road Police Station following their arrest and that Nakawa Magistrates Court issued orders that they be released unconditionally but the State defied the orders.  

They also claimed that it’s their right to apply for bail, saying they wouldn’t interfere with investigations once released.   However, the Prosecution led by Joseph Kyomuhendo opposed the bail application arguing that the accused persons have no fixed places of abode, which would make it hard to trace them once released.

He also indicated that the suspects would interfere with the ongoing investigations once release on bail. However, on Tuesday, Lady Justice Okalany allowed the application for bail and directed each of their sureties to execute a noncash bond of Shillings 10 million.  

“But should any of these applicants fail to come to court, I will be sending brokers to sell what you have. Have you understood?  And you will be surrendering that ten million Shillings to the government of the Republic of Uganda. You are not surrendering it to this court,” said Okalany. 

She has also barred the suspects from traveling outside the country unless permitted by the Court. She also directed the Officer in charge of the prisons where they are being held to make arrangements not later than Wednesday to escort the suspects to the DPC Jinja Road Police to capture their biometrics such that even if they wanted to move out of the country they can be traced and stopped by immigration authorities. she adjourned the matter to March 23rd, 2023 for further hearing.

On January 30th, 2022, a court in Saudi Arabia awarded Nakintu Shillings 270 million for the loss of her kidney. Parliament recently proposed tougher penalties for people involved in organ trade in the country. The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009 provides a life in imprisonment sentence for a person convicted of human trafficking.

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