Portuguese man to be deported for marrying Ugandan minor, to pay Shs 30m compensation

Portuguese man to be deported for marrying Ugandan minor, to pay Shs 30m compensation
Carlos Alberto the Portuguese National who has been taken back to prison.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala has ordered the deportation of a Portuguese National Carlos Alberto De Almeida Costa after finding him guilty of marrying a Ugandan minor.

The deportation was one of the three punishments endorsed by Justice Dr Andrew Bashaija on Wednesday following a plea bargain agreement between the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions-DPP and Costa.

According to the prosecution, between April 2020 and May 2020, at Busibante Zone in Kira municipality, Wakiso district, Carlos received and harbored a sixteen-year-old primary six pupil of Kira Primary School.

The prosecution claims that this was done by exploiting the victim’s vulnerable position or through the exchange of payments or benefits with the victim’s parents to gain their consent to exploit the victim.

On Wednesday, the prosecution represented by State Attorney Joseph Kyomuhendo told the Court that a plea bargain agreement had been executed and it is on the court file.

According to the agreement, the parties also agreed that Carlos would serve a jail term of four years from the date he was remanded on June 2nd, 2020, and also compensate the victim Shs 30 million.

Kyomuhendo told Justice Bashaija that the 30 million shillings compensation to the victim has also been deposited with the Registrar and that the victim was present in court but never wanted to be captured by the media.

”I have the victim with me and she will be taking part in the proceedings. However, she is not comfortable with the numbers in Court my Lord. I’m moving this Honorable Court to invoke its powers conferred onto it by the Prevention of Trafficking in person Regulation 23  that provides for proceedings in camera where the victim of human trafficking is a party to the proceedings my Lord,” added Kyomuhendo.

The Judge ordered other people to leave the court and only allowed journalists who were ordered not to film the victim. The victim informed the court that she was okay with the terms and conditions set out in the agreement.

Kyomuhendo then read out the brief facts of the case which Carlos accepted and was convicted on his plea of guilty.

“You are now a convict, you are no longer an accused person. I hereby convict you.  The period you have spent on remand is deducted. The convict will serve any balance as of today. You are sentenced to four years if you agree with the Prosecution. Upon completion, u will be deported from this country. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will make sure you are deported I don’t know to where but it shall be outside Uganda,” said Bashaija.

The victim was being rehabilitated by Willow International, a Non-Governmental Organization that supports victims of trafficking.

The prosecution alleges that in August 2019, Carlos resided in Ntinda with his girlfriend Sharon. After their separation, Carlos moved to Najjera in April 2020, where he rented an apartment.

It was there that he met the victim’s mother, who used to sell tea by the roadside with her daughters, and he became their regular customer. In late April, Carlos reportedly asked the victim’s mother to allow her daughter to go to his residence and wash his clothes. However, the mother suggested that Carlos brings the clothes to their home, where they would wash them and he could pick them up, as they had developed a friendship.

According to the records, Carlos visited their makeshift wooden home and considered it unsuitable for human habitation. As a result, he allegedly advised them to find another house at his expense. They later rented a two-bedroom house for Shs 500,000 per month, where Carlos, the victim’s siblings and her parents all lived. Carlos occupied one room with the victim while the parents occupied the other.

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During their stay, it is alleged that Carlos would move from his bed to the victim’s bed at night, kissing her. When the victim’s younger sister left the room, Carlos allegedly began sexually abusing the victim. When the victim reported the matter to her mother, she advised her to talk to her father.

However, when the father was informed, he remained silent. According to the evidence before the court, Carlos complained again about the size of the house and rented a three-bedroom house at Shs 1 million. In this new house, each family member had their bed.

When Carlos allegedly complained about being isolated from the children, the parents allowed him to share a bed with the children, where he continued to abuse the victim. It is also alleged that Carlos took the victim to Jinja one day and showed her explicit videos. When the victim refused to engage in sexual activities with him, Carlos locked the rest of the family members outside the house.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Carlos had written an agreement, which the victim’s parents signed. The agreement stated that he would marry the victim and pay the bride price of a house and a car within two years.