By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: City businessman Mohammed Ssebuwufu, the proprietor of Pine Car bond in Nakasero, Kampala, has Monday afternoon been convicted of murdering Betty Donah Katusabe, his former client.
Justice Flavia Anglin Ssenoga of the High Court found Muhammad Sebuwufu and his co-accused guilty of murdering, Katusabe whom they abducted from her home in 2017, before torturing her to death at Pine Car bond offices. The other convicts are Godfrey Kayiza, Phillip Mirambe, Stephen Lwanga , Paul Tasingika, Yoweri Kitayimba, Shaban Otuddu and Damaseni Ssentongo, all employees of Pine Car Bond. Justice Ssenoga also found Ssebuwufu’s co-accused guilty of kidnap and aggravated robbery. She however, convicted Steven Lwanga for being accessory to murder simply because prosecution failed to place him at the scene of crime. Court found him guilty of driving the vehicle where Katusabe’s body was put after being tortured to death.
In her judgment, Justice Ssenoga explained that the 26 prosecution witnesses adduced overwhelming evidence showing that Sebuwufu and his accomplices picked Katusabe from her home in Entebbe with intentions of murdering her. The convicts also robbed Katusabe of her simcards and the mobile phone worth Shillings, 300,000. They reportedly deceived Katusabe that they wanted to settle the issue of money she owed Sebuwufu as balance for buying a car from his bond. The judge contended that the convicts should have filed a civil suit against the deceased if they didn’t harbor any intention of killing her. She said the deceased was kidnapped with intention of executing unlawful purpose. Justice Senoga also noted that prosecution had proved to court all the ingredients of murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery. She rejected the submission of the defense claiming that the convicts hadn’t been at the scene of crime.
The convicts had argued during trial that some of them were playing football on the fateful day Katusabe was killed. Sebuwufu had told court that he was attending to other court matters in Mengo during the incident, a claim court rejected. After passing judgment, Justice Ssenoga remanded all of them to Luzira prisons until July, 1st, 2019 when they will appear for sentencing.
She also promised to deliver a detailed judgment into the matter on the same day. The convict’s lawyers led by Evans Ochieng declined to present mitigating factors to court, saying they will do so after looking at the detailed judgment. Sebuwufu, who was out on bail, was handcuffed shortly after the judgment and led to the court cells awaiting transportation to Luzira prisons.
The convicted murderers had earlier been charged with Aaron Baguma, the former Commander Central Police Station, Kampala, but his charges were later dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) under unclear circumstances. Katusabe’s relatives who had packed court to capacity were overheard jubilating, saying they should slaughter goats for Assistant Directors of Public Prosecution Winifred Ahimbisibwe and Michael Ejok Lawrence for having secured the conviction in the case of their loved one.