New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Police Holding MP'S Passport

Kampala — The Police Criminal Investigation Department is holding John Ndege's passport. Ndege, Member of Parliament for Luuka, Iganga, and his wife Hope Kaijuka Ndege are accused of issuing three false cheques amounting to sh76m. The passport has been in Police custody since the end of last year.

Police sources said Ndege surrendered his passport as "security" to W. V. Oketcho whom he owes sh6m. Oketcho in turn handed it to the Police CID. Chief Police spokesman Bob Ngobi, said Friday.

"Yes we are holding the passport of Mr. John Ndege."

"John Ndege promised to pay Okectcho and to demonstrate this offered his passport.

Oketcho is the one who handed the passport to the Police." Ngobi said the MP also agreed to give his lorry number 088 UAX to Oketcho to settle the debt. "He has already signed the transfer forms for this," Ngobi said. Ndege and his wife are also reported to have issued cheques on three separate occasions mid last year. Police CID records state that on December 8, 1997, Ndege issued a cheque worth sh20m to Wilco Links (U) Ltd. Four days later the cheque bounced and this prompted, the company director Thomas Stroh to initiate criminal proceedings.

On March 25, 1999, Hope issued a false cheque this time worth sh26,880,000 to Stroh. Within the same spell Muhammad Hussain Pardesi filed another case in which he claims he was the recipient of two false cheques totaling sh30m, issued by Hope. The Police said all three cases are in violation of Section 364 of the Penal Code.

Sources at the court registry at Buganda Road said criminal summons were served to the two suspects but they never showed up on the required dates. Asked whether the Police was treating the MP with kid gloves Ngobi said: "The technicality is that there were part payments made on the bounced cheques and as such this case is beginning to look like a civil case," he said. He said the files had been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution for "his advise." When contacted yesterday Ndege said the matter was being handled in the court and gave no further explanation.

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