By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The General Court Martial has today found Abduallah Kitatta, the patron of Boda-boda 2010, guilty of illegal possession of firearms and government stores.
Kitatta and his bodyguard Sowali Ngobi have been found guilty of two counts of unlawful possession of firearms contrary to the Firearms Act and convicted by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, the chairman of the Court Martial. Kitatta had earlier on applied for bail on several turns which was denied at all intervals. In his ruling Lt. Gen. Gutti convicted Kitatta and Ngobi, before revealing that their sentence would be delivered on Tuesday May 14th, 2019. Meanwhile the same court acquitted; Joel Kibirige, Matia Senfuka, Hassan Sebatta, John Sebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika and Amon Twinomujuni of the offences of unlawful possession of firearms and military supplies. However, prosecution asked court to give maximum sentence to Kitatta and Ngobi such that they can serve as a lesson to would-be-offenders. But the defence lawyer Shaban Sanya told court that Kitatta and Ngobi are first offenders and are sole bread-winners in their families and have school-going children. He added that Ngobi has served in the Uganda Police for so long and had not committed any offence in line of duty, before today’s conviction. He also submitted that they have been in prison for the last 16 months and have learnt a lot from there, so a non-custodial sentence should be considered for them. The convicts now wait for their fate to be sealed on Tuesday, although the offences attract a non-mandatory sentence of death on conviction.
Background of Case
Kitatta and other suspects were arrested in January 19, 2018 but pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were arraigned in court. The prosecution witnesses who include Private Richard Kasaija, one of the nine operatives who picked up the suspects, did a great job at submitting evidence that helped to pin the culprits. While appearing before court, Kasaija paraded a golden pistol, an AK-47 rifle, UPDF uniforms and 55 bullets purportedly recovered from Vine Hotel Wakaliga and the offices of Boda Boda 2010. Kasaija explained that he was assigned to pick one of the accused persons in connection to the murder of Francis Ekalungar, the former accountant of Case Hospital. According to Kasaija, he received instructions a day before to arrest Kitatta from King Fahad Plaza in Kampala. Kitatta was later picked up from Vine Hotel Wakaliga after being tracked down by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence using his cellphone. However, Kasaija said Boda Boda 2010 riders turned rowdy shortly after Kitatta’s arrest and started pelting the arresting officers with stones leading to several more other arrests. Other witnesses wheo helped pin Kitatta included Corporal Richard Wanyama, a detective from CMI attached to the directorate of counter terrorism, Maj. David Agaba, the former CMI operations commander and Corporal Alex Baguma.