Lamwo clan leader arrested over malicious damage

Police in Lamwo district have arrested the Lugorone clan chief on charges of malicious damage.

Martin Ojwiya resident of Agula Luborioko A village in Agoro sub-county was arrested on Saturday at around 2pm after allegedly uprooting one acre of cabbage belonging to his younger brother, Simon Okwera on the same day at around 6am.

The Agula Luborioko A village chairman, James Okello Ojong, says the suspect has for years been embroiled in a wrangle for the land on which his brother had planted the cabbage.

The chairman added that Ojwiya purportedly pulled up the cabbage before throwing them into the bush where the complainant found them, picked them up and used them as evidence to file a case at the police station.

The act prompted the police to arrest Ojwiya on charges of malicious damage.

Voice over: Okello on malicious damage (English)
Sound bite: Okello on malicious damage (Luo)

After spending two nights in the cells, Ojwiya was bonded out today (Monday) but required to report to the police tomorrow (Tuesday), April 6, 2021, according to a police officer attached to Lamwo police station whose identity is concealed because he is not allowed to speak to the press.

“Looking at his status, we agreed that he can be bonded but we expect him to report back on April 6, 2021,” the police officer told our reporter.

When contacted for a comment, Ojwiya said he was merely being character assassinated.

 “I regained the right over the land in question in 2009 after court ruled in my favour. I only went with a team to mediate over after realising that the person I allowed to develop the piece of land had a row with my younger brother,” Ojwiya said.

“Unfortunately while there, the other party (my brother) failed to show up and we could not mediate as planned but later got a report alleging that I uprooted the cabbage. So, how can a mediator turn to uprooting cabbage?” he asked.

Voice over: Ojwiya on malicious damage (English)
Sound bite: Ojwiya on malicious damage (Luo)

The law

According to Article 335 of the Uganda Penal Code Act, any person who willfully and unlawfully destroys or damages any property commits an offense and is liable, if no other punishment is provided, to imprisonment for five years.

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