KAMPALA – A Portuguese national who was arrested two days ago for marrying a 16-year-old girl has presented a ‘sales agreement’ signed by the victim’s parents.
Carlos Almeida Da-Costa was picked up on Wednesday after residents of Busibante in Najjera in Kira municipality tipped off Kira division police indicating that he had married off a teenager.
Police raided Almeida’s home and found the teenager inside his bedroom. He was arrested and taken to Kira police headquarters. However, Almeida insisted that he owned the girl lawfully, saying he had even signed an agreement with her parents.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, says Almeida presented a signed agreement bearing signatures of the teenager’s parents, Yoram Betamu and his wife, Josephine Twongirwe, both residents of Najjera.
Almeida reportedly offered the couple a three-bedroom house in exchange for their daughter. According to police, the parents told one of their neighbours that they married off their primary 6 daughters because she had overgrown and no longer fitted to be in the primary.
Enanga said police decided to name and shame the girl’s parents to serve as a lesson to other parents since their conduct is illegal and punishable by law.
The couple and Almeida are waiting to appear in court. According to the Criminal Investigations Directorate record, more than 13,000 girls were defiled in 2019.
Most of the victims were aged between 15 and 17 years. Police attribute the problem on the belief by parents that the girls are overgrown and force them into marriage.