By Ronaldo Kalangi &Agencies
Kampala, Uganda: The high court criminal Division Judge Wilson Kwesiga has set date January 24th to deliver his ruling on whether city businessman Ivan Katongole has a case to answer about the murders of of several women that were committed in Entebbe and Wakiso between 2017 and 2018.
While submitting their Evidence ,the prosecution informed court that they have enough witnesses to pin Katongole and two others for the murder of Rose Nakimuli, a former resident of Kitala LC1 in Katabi Town council on the 24th of July 2017. The witnesses include a widower of the deceased Anatoli Ndyabagenyi and five police officers who led the arrest of the suspects after carrying out investigations. State prosecutor Baston Baguma asked court to find a pre-mafacie case against the accused so that they can defend themselves. However , Katongole’s lawyers Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochienge asked court to set their clients free on grounds that the alleged state witnesses did not place the suspects at the crime scene which would have linked them to the murder. Katongole, a fish exporter who was based at Kasenyi landing site prior to his arrest, is jointly charged with Andrew Kizito and Hellen Nabaggala. On the 4th of December 2018, hearing began with prosecution producing the late’s widower Anatoli Ndyabagenyi as the first witness. Ndyabagenyi testified before court that he last saw his wife alive on the night of 22nd of July 2017 before leaving for his second home at Kawafu -Kabaale Parish -Wakiso district. Ndyabagenyi ,a business consultant informed court that he had been living together with the deceased for one and half years at their home in Kitala. He narrated that on the morning of 24th of July 2017, his neighbor in Kitala called him and asked him to rush to Kitala which was a few meters away from his other home. And that as he closely approached his home, he saw people and policemen gathered in a near by garden looking at a dead body of a half naked woman which was lying with its face down. And that a few meters away, he noticed a familiar jumper that resembled that of his wife hanging on a cassava plantation which he new belonged to his wife and it was what he used to identify her.
Ndyabagenyi also managed to identify in court 2 out of the 3 suspects including Andrew Kizito whom he says owned a bar that he and the late Nakimuli used to frequent while Nabaggala was introduced to him by his late wife as a cousin sister. He testified that he saw Nabaggala at the crime scene and asked her to inform Nakimuli’s parents at Kaleemera- Mukono but she replied that she could not contact anyone since she had lost her phone. That however after burial, he got a call from Nakimuli’s half sister-Nanteza asking him to do whatever it takes to contact Nabaggala because police had named her as a key suspect in the deceased’s murder hence tricking her into coming to his home at Kitala where police arrested her from. The other 2 witnesses are police officers from Mpala and Entebbe police stations who arrested the 3 suspects, visited the crime scene and impounded Katongole’s vehicles which they suspected of carrying the dead bodies. Court also accepted two prosecution exhibits including a postmortem report from Mulago hospital which indicated that Nakimuli died due to excessive bleeding and manual strangulation and medical examination reports regarding the sane mental state of the 3 suspects as presented by state prosecutor Baston Baguma.
Katongole and two others are charged with the murder of Nakimuli after they allegedly kidnapped her from Wakiso district in July 2017 . These were formally charged on the 10th of December 2018 with the murder and pleaded not guilty. In June 2018 , Katongole was charged jointly with the deceased’s sister Hellen Nabagala and Andrew Kizito who all pleaded not guilty to the offense of unlawful killing at Entebbe high court. The deceased, who was a hair dresser in Kitala zone and believed to have been the 5th woman to be killed in Entebbe, was allegedly murdered on the 24th of July and her body was recovered from a banana plantation with marks of strangulation and sticks inserted in her private parts . Her murder came at a time when several women and girls had been kidnapped, raped and murdered in Entebbe, Wakiso and other parts of the country.