The Grade II Magistrate of Bbaale magistrate’s court in Kayunga District, Peter Kercan Prosper, has been remanded to Koch Prison by the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Nebbi District.
He is facing charges of embezzling money intended for community compensation.
During the court proceedings overseen by Mr. Cyrus Ssennoga Mawano, the prosecution presented evidence that Kercan, who was mediating a land conflict between the Ministry of Defense and 67 community members from Kwio in Angal, allegedly misappropriated a total of Shs402 million meant for compensating the community for damages caused by the UPDF in 2003.
The prosecution also alleges that Kercan received the compensation funds from the Ministry of Defence but failed to disburse them to the community members.
In response, the affected community members resorted to seeking justice through the legal system.
However, Mr. Mawano stated, “Though the accused has the right to seek bail, I cannot grant it in the absence of the Resident State Attorney, who should have responded to the bail application.”
Mr. Kercan, aged 55 and a resident of Panyango in Pakwach District, has been remanded until October 13, 2023, when he will appear in court for a bail hearing.
One of the complainants, Mr. Justine Ongirea, informed the Monitor that the community of Akuru in Nyaravur Sub-County had taken legal action against the government due to criminal trespass and property damage by the UPDF, with a civil suit registered in 2004.
The case was ruled in favor of the community, but they entrusted Mr. Kercan Peter Prosper with the power of attorney to manage the compensation funds. Regrettably, he diverted the money for personal gain.
“Many community members who were awaiting compensation passed away after their properties were damaged by the UPDF. Some of us, who are still alive, have been waiting in vain for justice until now,” Mr. Ongirea stated.
In court, Kercan expressed remorse, saying, “I apologize for what transpired between me and the community. I request the court to consider settling this matter outside the courtroom, as I can provide substantial sureties.”