December 21, 2022

Uganda charges US couple with child trafficking

By Biodun Busari

A couple from the United States resident in Uganda has been charged with child trafficking and denied bail following the allegation of torturing their foster son last week.

The couple – Nicholas Spencer and Mackenzie Leing Mathias Spencer were charged by Ugandan prosecutors on Tuesday for “constantly” torturing a 10-year-old boy who was one of their three foster children from 2020 to 2022.

The police said they found CCTV evidence revealing that the victim who attended a school for children with special needs was intimidated to squat in an “awkward position”.

Read also: Police arrest fake rev’d sister for child trafficking, rescue 15 children

He was also served only cold food and made to sleep on a “wooden platform” without a mattress or bedding, according to a statement by the police.

According to AFP, the couple, both 32, arrived in Uganda in 2020 to volunteer at a US-based non-profit in the town of Jinja before moving to Naguru, an upmarket Kampala suburb, to work at a start-up.

They were arraigned in court and pleaded not guilty after being charged last week with committing “aggravated torture.”

The court denied their bail and remanded them to Luzira Prison, a maximum security facility on the outskirts of the capital Kampala.

Chief Magistrate Sarah Tusiime told the couple the reason for denying them bail, ruling that a child trafficking case could only be heard by a higher court.

The couple’s lawyer dismissed the case as a “fishing expedition” by authorities, claiming they had no evidence.

“Last time we were in court, the state said that inquiries are complete and yet today they added a new charge and said that inquiries are ongoing. It doesn’t make sense,” she said.