The Anti-Corruption Court has asked the Directorate of Public Prosecution- DPP to expedite investigations in the case where human rights lawyer Nicholas Opio is accused of money laundering.
Grade one Magistrate Moses Nabende on Monday directed the DPP after the State Attorney Steven Ariong informed the court that investigations were incomplete and needed more time to finalise them.
Opio’s lawyer David Mpanga asked that the DPP be directed to expedite the investigations.
Mpanga also told the court that some of the bail conditions are not favourable to Opio especially on the condition of reporting to court Registrar twice in a month. He asked that the court directs the DPP to expedite the inquiries to enable his client to gain freedom.
Accordingly, the Magistrate agreed with him and issued orders to that effect.
The prosecution alleges that on October 8, 2020, at ABSA Bank Garden City Branch in Kampala District, Opio’s Organization Chapter Four Uganda where he is the Executive Director acquired 340,000 dollars (1.2 billion Shillings) under account number 6004078045 knowing that at the time of receipt the money in question was proceeds of crime.
Opio was first arraigned in Nakawa Magistrates Court and remanded to Kitalya government prison before being granted bail by High Court. He was picked up by plain-clothed operatives while at Lamaro Restaurant in Kamwokya.
Opio was later taken to the Special Investigations Department of Police in Kireka together with four other lawyers/ human defenders but was later released on police bond. They are Simon Peter Esomu, Anthony Odur, Dakasi Herbert and Hamidu Tenywa.
His arrest sparked off criticism from several organizations including the Uganda Law Society, foreign embassies and human rights activists, who argued that he had been arrested unlawfully on trumped-up charges.
Opio will return to court on January 28th 2021 to be updated on the status of investigations.