No Bail For Uganda Aide

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Africa News Update

An aide to the brother of Uganda’s president arrested in London on drug trafficking charges was returned to prison after a court hearing when she did not meet conditions for bail application including $100,000 surety.

Rose Birungi, was arrested at Heathrow airport on May 22 when U.K. prosecutors say sniffer dogs detected 18 pounds of narcotics said to be valued at $260,000 in her luggage.

A judge at Uxbridge Magistrate Court yesterday agreed with the prosecution request that Birungi be again remanded to Bronzefield Ashford prison until the next court date August 2.

Birungi had traveled to London on a Uganda diplomatic passport. She serves as an aide to Gen. Salim Saleh, Uganda’s minister of Micro-financing and brother of President Yoweri K. Museveni. Birungi additionally is Minister of Information for Toro, one of Uganda’s traditional kingdoms. Yesterday was her first live court appearance; previously she was shown on video-linkup.

U.K.-based Ugandan lawyer Patrick Asiimwe says meeting the bail conditions was complex and that a key individual his team needed to help complete a possible deal wasn’t in the country.

Birungi, who appeared calm yesterday, wore a maroon overcoat with similar colors of light pair of trousers. She met with her defense team, comprising six members and led by Asiimwe, for at least an hour. The defendant wasn’t able to come up with the surety for bail and there was no objection to the prosecution request that she be remanded.

Earlier, lawyer Asiimwe had tried without success to broker a bail package but complex legal requirements created insurmountable hurdles.

“We would much like our client to be out on bail because at the moment she is presumed innocent,” says the lawyer.


“Given the nature of this case, you need to present very strong essentials when applying for the bail. Someone we expected wasn’t in the country,” he adds, explaining why his team had not made a formal bail application.

Miwambo reports for The Black Star News from London

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