21 May 2018

Uganda: Kitatta Denied Bail, Pinned Over Possession of Illegal Gun

Kampala — The patron of Boda Boda 2010 Association, Abudallah Kitatta has today lost an application to be released on bail pending trial before the General Court Martial.

Remanded since February this year, Mr Kitatta is jointly charged with twelve other suspects including Mr John Ssebandeke, a crime preventer of Nabweru in Wakiso District, in connection with unlawful possession of fire arms.

Other suspects include members of Boda Boda 2010 Association; Joel Kibirige, Matia Ssenfuka, Hassan Ssebata, Jonathan Kayondo, Hassan Ssengoba, Sunday Ssemogerere, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika, Amon Twinomujuni, Sowali Ngoobi and Ibrahim Sekajja.

They all denied the charges against them.

Makindye based Army Court on Monday declined to grant a temporary release to Mr Kitatta saying that the sureties were not substantial.

Mr Kitatta had presented four sureties including among others his father Hajji Muhammad Nangoba.

Lt Gen. Andrew Gutti who chairs the Army Court ruled that the sureties presented by Mr Kitatta are ordinary people who cannot force him to appear and attend his trial.

"He is an influential and high profile person having been relating with Police officers, he will interfere with investigations and witnesses," ruled Gen Gutti adding that the court could not grant bail to Mr Kitatta due to the gravity of the offence which carries a maximum punishment of life in prison upon conviction.

The court has also started the hearing of prosecution evidence against the suspects with a UPDF Private Richard Kasaija who testified that he arrested Mr Kitatta from Vine Hotel at Wakaligga in Rubaga Division.

Private Kasaija attached to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) told the army court that upon arrest, Mr Kitatta was found in possession of a pistol with five bullets and military uniforms.

He also testified that his co-accused persons were found with an SMG rifle with 20 bullets, machetes, iron bars, military uniforms and sticks which they held while planning to carry out a demonstration.

Private Kasaija presented to court the firearms as exhibits but the suspects through their lawyer, Mr Shaban Sanywa declined to be cross examined arguing that prosecution did not disclose the exhibits as required by law.

Meanwhile, Mr Kitatta who wept upon presentation of the pistol which was allegedly found with him has been further remanded to Makindye Military Prison until June 12 for further hearing of prosecution evidence.

Prosecution case:

The state alleges that on January 21 this year at Vine Hotel at Wakaliga, Nateete in Rubaga Division Kampala District, Mr Kitatta and the co-accused persons were found in possession of two guns SMG, three pistols and bullets without holding a valid firearms certificate and military uniforms which are a monopoly of the defence forces.

Background

Mr Kitatta and his co-accused persons, all members of infamous Boda boda 2010 were first charged before Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence's (CMI) Unit Disciplinary Court (UDC) at Mbuya with five counts, including failure to protect war materials that attracts a death sentence on conviction.

The suspects were arraigned before the military courts under section 119 of the UPDF Act that provides for persons subject to military law.

Section 119 (1) (h), (i) provides that any person found in unlawful possession of arms, ammunitions or equipment ordinarily being the monopoly of the Defence Forces, becomes subject to military law.

Mr Kitatta was arrested on January 20 this year, a day after CMI apprehended his young brother Huzairu Kiwalabye in connection with the kidnap and killing of Case Hospital accountant, Francis Ekalungar.

Ekalungar was kidnapped on January 2 as he took the hospital's money worth Shs15m to the bank. His body was discovered a day later at Kajjansi, burnt beyond recognition.

CMI took over investigation into Ekalungar's gruesome murder after police detectives claimed they were stuck with case since it involved Boda boda 2010 a group loyal to the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura.

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