4 January 2013

Uganda: Prison Confiscates Lawmakers' Recall List

Luzira Prison authorities Thursday confiscated part of the signatures collected to petition the Speaker to recall Parliament.

This happened after a couple of MPs purporting to visit a jailed colleague smuggled the list into jail for Bubulo MP Tony Kipoi to append his signature.

The list was reportedly confiscated from MPs Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, Muhammed Nsereko and Brenda Nabukenya.

Sources said upon confiscating the forms, the Officer in Charge of Luzira Upper Prison, Wilson Magomu, immediately deleted (whitewashed) Kipoi's signature from the forms, before returning them to a pleading Ssemujju.

When contacted, Prisons public relations officer Frank Baine said the MPs sneaked in the documents, contrary to the prisons' rules and regulations.

According to prison rules and regulations, prisoners' visitors with documents are supposed to be verified first and sanctioned by the officer in charge before they are delivered to the prisoner.

"The OC acted professionally by confiscating the forms from the MPs because the documents were not authorised by the Prisons authority. They ought to have communicated to the authorities to grant them permission to deliver the petition to the prisoner," Baine said.

He added that Kipoi being an MP does not exempt him from being subjected to prisons' rules and regulations. According to Semujju, Kipoi had requested for the forms so as to append his signature.

Speaking to New Vision later, Semujju explained that Kipoi had requested for the forms through Nsereko. "Nsereko didn't have the list so we decided to take mine," he said. He said they have written to the Parliamentary Commission protesting the manner in which the prison's authority acted.

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