By Andrew Irumba
Kampala:The General Court Martial has set May 13th, 2019 as the day it will deliver the ruling in cases against Boda-boda patron Abdullah Kitatta.
Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, the Chairperson of the Court Martial, set the date for delivering judgment on Monday afternoon after the Judge Advocate, Colonel Richard Tukacungurwa summed up the case. The other suspects charged with Kitatta include; Matia Ssenfuka, Joel Kibirige, Hassan Ssemata, Jonathan Kayondo, Ssengooba Hassan, Sande Ssemwogerere, John Ssebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika, Amon Twinomujuni and Sowali Ngobi. Tukacungurwa 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. Kitatta and his co-accused were arrested 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 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 were 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. 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. However, both sides now wait for the day of the ruling, during which court will determine Kitatta’s fate.