Court quashes Catha-edulis (Khat/Mairunji) case trials, as CAA agent acquitted

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By Mukose Arnold Anthony

Kampala high court criminal division under Justice Yasin Nyanzi has on Wednesday morning quashed the trial, conviction, sentence and imprisonment of any suspect(s) allegedly charged with possession, eating or transacting any business related to Mairunji as there is no existing laws that enforce the said charges.

While setting free a one Peter Mayanja 23 a clearing agent at the airport who has been in Kiggo government prison for one year and 5month after having been convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after failing to pay Ush14M fine by the Entebbe chief magistrate Mary Kaitesi Kisaakye over exporting the said crop leaves Justice Nyanzi said that though there are some precedents halting related matters, this court has consistently mistreated suspects.

Mayanja through counsel Isaac Ssemakadde Kimeze of center for legal aid appealed to high court challenging the law under which he was convicted which cited being non-existents After having listened to the applicant.

“Police and other authorities like court specudically at Entebbe have repeatedly enforced this law  and it’s the high time they’re  notified dealing in Khat is not yet prohibited in our laws of Uganda as parliament desired and consequently neither the police nor court have the responsibility to enforce non existing law “ Justice Yasin Nyanzi ruled

“Accordingly, the trial, conviction, sentence, and stay in prison of the applicant was unconstitutional and the court sets free Mr. Mayanja Peter” Justice Nyanzi ordered

Ssemakadde appealed that in the new amendment, parliament after listening to arguments from legislators where this crop is majory grown, the minister of internal affairs was charged with the responsibility to make consultations over the crop before its categorized as either a narcotic drug or delicacy before its enforced but that even before the minister had started on the consultations, security and law agencies began charging people involved in the crop activity.

Mayanja becomes the 2nd person to be convicted of the same case when the same court on 24/01/2017 sentenced a 27-year old Petersen Deleuran Schotz Kasper Danish national who pleaded guilty to 12 years and 10 years in jail or pay fines for two counts of trafficking narcotic and being in possession of khat (mairunji), a narcotic substance who managed to pay the fine and deported back to Denmark which Ssemakadde said was an illegal decision.

However, before justice Nyanzi could rule Mary Asiku the senior state attorney conceded that its true police and court acted out of the constitution.

Mayanja expressed dismay over how police and Entebbe court enjoyed bribe from the cargo owner claiming that after him (Mayanja) arresting and handing over the cargo owner to the airport police, police released him and pined Mayanja as the suspect even when he pleaded to magistrate Mary Kaitesi Kisaakye that the cargo owner be produced, instead Kaitesi backed at him.

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