The jailed Bukwo District LC5 Chairperson, Julius Moses Chelimo appeared Tuesday before the International Crimes Division of the High Court on charges of aggravated human trafficking, promoting the same, and aggravated defilement.
However, the case was adjourned to August 22nd, 2023, as the presiding judge, Dr. Andrew Bashaija, was on sick leave.
He was ferried to the court under tight security, which saw dozens of officers from the Counter Terrorism police deployed inside the court premises and three patrol vans stationed outside. Chelimo has been in prison since his arrest in November 2022, accused of trafficking and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl who was a student in one of the schools in Sebei region. The crime allegedly took place in various locations in Mbale, Bukwo, Kapchorwa, and Budaka districts.
According to court records, the victim, who was living with her elder sister at the time of the incident, attended Chepkwesta Primary School in Bukwo District. Chelimo allegedly developed an interest in having a sexual relationship with the teenager and used his co-accused and victim’s uncle Joshua Kwemoi, to lure her. After several failed attempts, Kwemoi eventually persuaded the victim to meet Chelimo, promising her financial benefits. The prosecution alleges that the victim was taken to the home of another co-accused, Felix Chelimo, where she met the politician.
Court records suggest that when Kwemoi left, Chelimo engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim multiple times, using false promises of marriage and a better life in Kampala. The Prosecution emphasizes that this is a high-profile case as Chelimo is a public officer and a person of authority with significant influence in Bukwo District and the Sebei region.
During the hearing, the Prosecution plans to present evidence such as beddings, mattresses, photos, medical examination reports, birth records, school records, call data records, mobile money transactions, and communication records between the victim and the accused persons. Regarding his official position, the Electoral Commission confirmed that Chelimo is still the legitimate Chairperson LC 5 of Bukwo District, despite the attempt by the Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi, to install a new LC5 Chairperson, Merisa Cheptegei, in November 2022. Chelimo had previously resigned on October 24th, 2022, citing personal reasons.
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