Army court sets judgement day for Abdallah Kitatta
The General Court Martial has set May13 to deliver judgment in the case of the Boda Boda 2010 members led by their patron, Abdallah Kitatta.
The other suspects are Matia Ssenfuka, Joel Kibirige, Hassan Ssemata, Jonathan Kayondo, Ssengooba Hassan, Sande Ssemwogerere, John Ssebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika, Amon Twinomujuni and Sowali Ngobi.
The General Court Martial Chairperson, Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti set the date for delivering judgment on Monday afternoon after the Judge Advocate, Colonel Richard Tukacungurwa summed up the case.
He presented a detailed account of the matter and the evidences presented before court by the prosecution against the accused persons.
Prosecution led by Lt. Col. Raphael Mugisha presented four witnesses and several exhibits including 55 rounds of ammunition, golden pistol, Sub Machine Gun, UPDF uniforms and caps. The suspect’s lawyer, Shaban Sanywa maintains the innocence of his clients, saying they should be acquitted since the investigating officer didn’t testify.
The suspects were picked up between January, 19th and 21st, 2018 from various places in Rubaga Division in Kampala district for illegal possession of firearms and military stores.
Prosecution told court that the suspects were found in possession of UPDF head gears, uniforms, 55 live ammunition, two pistols and an SMG rifle. The uniforms were recovered from the Boda boda 2010 association offices in Wakaliga while the firearms were recovered from Kitatta’s vehicle at Vine Hotel.
The defense team presented its submissions in November 2018. The defense lawyers led by Shaban Sanywa told Court that the prosecution witnesses failed to connect the accused persons to the items recovered and place them at the scene of crime.
The prosecution witnesses included Private Richard Kasaija, one of the nine operative who was involved in the arrest of the suspects, Corporal Richard Wanyama, a CMI detective attached to the Directorate of Counter Terrorism, Major David Ababa, the former CMI Operations Commander and Corporal, Alex Baguma, the one who drove the vehicle that picked up the suspects.
Sanywa argued that had prosecution presented the Investigating Officer, maybe he would have guided court on whether or not Kitatta really touched the guns and whether they were functional or not. Sanywa also argued that the Investigating Officer would have told court whether he had access to Vine Hotel to establish whether the guns were recovered from there.
He further argued that the Investigating Officer would have been important in narrating the chain of the movement of the evidence, and how the Boda Boda 2010 offices were searched in the absence of the accused persons.
Sanywa also pointed to the testimony of Kasaija and Major Agaba, Baguma, all prosecution witnesses indicating that none of the suspects were picked up from the Boda Boda 2010 offices.
According to Sanywa, the rest of the accused persons were arrested from the way for obstruction officers on duty and assault, which is confirmed by Wanyama’s testimony. He asked court to acquit his clients, saying that none of the witnesses told court that “I searched and recovered the pistols.”
He faulted the state for failing to present the officers who conducted the search and recovered the firearms. Court also heard that the search was illegally conducted, no search certificate was tabled before court and neither were the accused persons nor the owner of the premises present when the search was conducted.
The defense argued that prosecution led by Major Raphael Mugisha presented evidence in bad faith, arguing that it lacked independence since all witnesses involved in the matter were from the military. The defense contends that neither the public who witnessed the arrest nor police or the owners of Vine Hotel were brought to testify against the accused persons.