Kasiwukira murder: Court upholds widow’s acquittal

The Court of Appeal has upheld the acquittal of Sarah Nabikolo, a widow to businessman Eriya Ssebunnya Bugembe also known as Kasiwukira.

Nabikolo was initially charged with murder following the death of her husband, who was knocked dead by a speeding motor vehicle while jogging near his home in Muyenga in October 2014.

The prosecution had maintained that the accident that claimed Kasiwukira’s life was planned by Nabikolo, her cousin Sandra Nakkungu and Ashraf Jaden, a police officer formerly attached to Muyenga police post.

But she was acquitted by the High Court on grounds that prosecution did not produce enough evidence implicating her for playing any role in the crime.

Her co-accused were however convicted by the High Court judge, Wilson Masalu who found them guilty of planning Kasiwukira’s death, disguised as an accident.

Each was sentenced to a 20-year jail term.

Not convinced with Nabikolo’s acquittal, the DPP, Mike Chibita challenged it in the Court of Appeal, riding on a strained marital relationship between Nabikolo and Kasiwukira prior to his death.

The Prosecution said that the relationship presented evidence of Nabikolo’s motive to eliminate the husband, which the trial judge failed to judiciously scrutinize.

The prosecution further faulted justice Musene for failing to adequately appraise the evidence in relation to the doctrine of common intention which resulted in gross miscarriage of justice.

The doctrine of common intention states that if several people act together to achieve a common goal, whatever is done in law is done by all.

But a panel of three Court of Appeal Justices today maintained that the testimonies presented in the courts do not show that that Nabikolo participated in a ploy to end her husband’s life.

In one of the testimonies, John Ggayi Bugembe, a brother to the deceased, told the court that the marital issues between his brother and Nabikolo had been resolved and that the couple lived happily again at the time of the accident.

The court further based its decision on a voice recording, which makes no mention of Nabikolo’s name among the plotters of the killing, but refers to the person as Madam.

The judgement, read by Court of Appeal Registrar Jesse Byaruhanga this morning, is endorsed by justices Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi.