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Breaking | Assemblyman capped for criminal communications; possible jail time
by Nioa Xoxabo, 07/02/2021

BUOKAGIO ⸻ Politicians and commentators have been in confusion since Wednesday night, when Opposition Assemblyman Tomi Uhangé was indicted for treason after evidence surfaced of communications and payments between himself and several officially exiled individuals, all of whom are from the same province. The politician had apparently been attempting to repatriate the exiles, promising protection, stable employment, and monetary stipends. Prosecutors also mentioned ethnic lines as a possible motivating factor.

While Uhangé has yet to formally comment on the ordeal, he denies responsibility and alleges that his devices were stolen or hijacked by cybercriminals, and that the National Assembly is witch-hunting those of his ethnic group; however, prosecutors allege that the evidence against him is overwhelming. Several of the accomplices, who themselves had earlier been convicted of treason and corruption, have come forward and admitted to collaborating with Uhangé, thereby corroborating original written evidence that includes email chains, text messages, and wire payments. The prosecution surmises that Uhangé is attempting to leverage political popularity in his home province, and notes that it is very possible that Uhangé’s communications with the exiles are indicative of a larger scheme at play.

“There is no reason for which Assemblyman Uhangé should be repatriating these individuals, other than to facilitate some other criminal or fraudulent scheme,” they told TNH in a confidential statement. The sentiment hearkens back to December of 2019, when the same Assemblyman received allegations that he was part of a money laundering scheme operating out of his province of origin, just west of Buokagio. The allegations have since been dropped, but with this new indictment, the representative’s reputation is yet again being called into question. 

There is, however, a silver lining. Assemblypeople and commentators alike have applauded the speed with which Uhangé's communications were discovered and acted upon; public opinion seems to agree.

"While Assemblyman Uhangé's actions are reprehensible, it is something of a relief to see him held to justice so quickly," said Assemblywoman Inasio Tixii'oa on Thursday morning at a press conference. "This is yet another example of our country's marked improvement in holding those in power accountable and making sure the cycle of corruption ends before it begins."

"We've listened to politicians tow the same lines for decades, and we won't anymore," says 55-year-old M. T. Kisi of Buokagio, a local business owner.

Uhangé's legal team denies all wrongdoings on his behalf and is expected to plead innocent. He will be tried Friday morning at the Buokagio Judicial Center.

Opinion | Lawmakers are on edge about the Uhangé indictment - but they shouldn’t be
by Xoni Piaoxé, 07/03/2021

As I am sure our readers are aware, the pundits in Buokagio seem to be in yet another fervor, this time over the indictment of Assemblyman Tomi Uhangé. Strangely enough, it is for very similar reasons as other wealthy powerbrokers who had later been revealed to have gained their wealth and power illegitimately, unremorsefully, and always, always at the country's expense. Such people have almost always been buried in twenty meters of bureaucratic red tape, or been hucked off a proverbial cliff in the judicial system before eventually being sent to prison or exiled, or simply gone under the radar - in any case, disappearing without a trace.

So what changed with the Uhangé ordeal? Perhaps it is the mystery surrounding his particular actions that puts the experts on edge, the prospect that beyond the surface lies something deeper, more complex, more sinister. However - and pardon my pessimism - I believe that nothing really has changed, not in a way that matters. I will keep this brief, lest I defile this fine publication by allowing my more unsavory views about the topic be expressed herein.

I am aware of all of this commotion surrounding the indictment. But, even so, I have yet to see one convincing and substantial difference. It is not represented by this case, nor does it represent or embody this case. Uhangé is yet another Utogoan politician who wanted to attain more power for himself and those around him. What is different? Has there been a time since the colonial area where the Utogoan citizen wasn't getting smoke blown up their figurative ass?

You will also hear many discussing the speed with which Uhangé was indicted. To even mention this is a moot point. It is irrelevant because the result does not change; he is going to go through the judicial wringer (which, with the amount of evidence, is at this point a mere formality) and then he is going to be incarcerated, and we will likely not hear from him again. I would hardly call that indicative of widespread social change, nor would anyone even remotely versed in our country's history.

Our country, and her modern history, is one built on distrust, bloodshed, and many, many lies. Such is the unfortunate legacy Utogo has inherited. The economists and politicians at home always try to find ways to make the outlook brighter, which is arguably a good thing, but no matter what they say, I firmly believe that - much to the hopefuls' chagrin - there really is nothing new.

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