7 July 2006

Uganda: Red Pepper Reporter Remanded

Kampala — A Red Pepper journalist was yesterday charged and sent to Luzira prison for demanding money from an MP with intent to steal.

Mr Julius Odeke, a resident of Namanve is accused of demanding Shs500, 000 from the Busiro East MP, Ms Susan Nakawuzi as inducement to stop publishing negative stories about her.

Odeke on July 1 wrote an article in the Red Pepper stating that Nakawuzi had been beaten by her husband for dating a fellow FDC Member of Parliament.

The documents in court indicate that after the article, the journalist went to the MP and demanded money to ensure that more bad stories about her are not run.

He appeared before Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate Stella Amabiris and denied the charges.

He was remanded until today after failing to be bailed.

According to the charge sheet, Odeke was arrested at Mateos in Kampala on Monday after he allegedly received Shs100, 000 from the MP.

Prosecution led by Emmanuel Ojambo told court that investigations in the matter were not complete.

Odeke allegedly committed the offence on July 3 at Parliamentary Building in Kampala.

Odeke, said Nakawuki's bribe claim is baseless.

He said he was honouring the MP's invitation to Mateos, a drinking place in Kampala.

He saidNakawuki gave him a letter in a brown envelope to take to Mr Johnson Natuhwera, a parliamentary reporter.

He said he pushed the envelope in his pocket without opening it.

Odeke said before he left Mateos, plain clothed policemen arrested him on allegations that he had accepted a bribe from the MP.

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