Portuguese national jailed four years over aggravated trafficking

Mr Carlos Alberto De Almedia in the dock at the International Crimes Division in Kampala on March 21, 2024. Photo/Juliet Kigongo

Kampala, (UG):- The International Crimes Division of the High Court in Kampala has sentenced Carlos Alberto De Almeida, a Portuguese national to four years in jail over charges of aggravated trafficking of a minor and prevention of trafficking in persons.

Justice Andrew Bashaijja, who presided over the court on Wednesday, March 27, convicted the 60-year-old after he pleaded guilty to the two charges under the plea bargain arrangement with the state. He was also subsequently ordered to compensate his victim Shs30 million on his plea. 

In the plea bargain agreement seen by this publication, the state prosecution raised three aggravating factors including the age difference between the convict and victim, abuse of power and that the offence is serious and carries a maximum sentence of death.

Among his mitigation factors, the convict cited; pleading guilty to the charges, remorseful, advanced age, family responsibilities back in Portugal and suffering from a grave illness of prostate cancer.

“You are hereby sentenced to four years as per your agreement with the prosecution and the period spent on remand is deducted. The convict will serve any balance as of today and upon completion, you will be deported from this country,” the judge held.

Case Background

Prosecution led by Mr Joseph Kyomuhendo told court that Carlos Alberto committed the offenses between April and May 2020 at Busibante Zone, Kira Division, Wakiso District during when he received and harboured a minor by means of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability by means of giving or receiving of payments to achieve their consent to sexually exploit her.

According to court documents, Carlos came to Uganda in August 2019 and he stayed in Ntinda with a girlfriend, but the two later separated leading the accused to shift to Najjera in April 2020 where he rented an apartment.

After a while, it is alleged that Carlos met with the victim’s mother who was selling tea by the roadside together with two daughters and became a customer every morning.

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“Towards the end of April, he requested the victim’s mother to allow her little daughter to go with him to his place of residence and wash his clothes. Instead, the mother requested that he bring the clothes and they wash from home and he picks them,” read in part the court documents.

The victim became friends with Carlos with whom they started living together in a two-bedroom house with her parents paying rent of Shs500,000 per month.

Court records show that while the family slept, Carlos would move from his bed to the victims’ bed and engage in inappropriate behaviour.

The victim’s sister noticed this and shifted to their parent’s room, which allowed the convict to exploit the victim

“The incident was reported to the victim’s father but he kept quiet. The victim went ahead and shifted her mattress from the convict’s room, however, her father forced her to take it back and was further defiled,” reads in part the court documents.

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Carlos later complained about the house being bad thus suggesting that they shift to a spacious house with three bedrooms and indeed they shifted and started paying Shs1 million per month.

“In the new home, the victim and her sibling occupied one room while the parents the second room and Carlos the third room but he later complained that he was being discriminated against without allowing him to mix freely with the children.”

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