Uganda: DPP Withdraws Murder Charges Against Minister Nantaba

9 September 2019

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has withdrawn murder charges against state minister for Information, Communication and Technology Idah Nantaba and three others over the death of Ronald Ssebulime.

Ssebulime, who, was riding a motorbike, was arrested and handcuffed before being shot dead by police on Sunday, March 24, 2019, on suspicion that he wanted to assassinate Kayunga District Woman MP, Idah Nantaba Erios.

In the aftermath, three police constables Ronald Opira, Edward Cherotich and Ronald Baganza were sued for the shooting that claimed Ssebulime's life.

But the DPP advised the police to try the police officers in the Police Disciplinary Unit instead since their commander, Corporal David Ssali had confessed to the crime and a ballistic report proved that it was his gun that was used to kill Ssebulime.

Ssali, 46, attached to Naggalama police station was charged before grade one magistrate Mariam Nulugya in April and remanded to Luzira prison after he had reportedly recorded an extrajudicial statement in regards to the shooting.

However, the rest were never charged, prompting Ssebulime's family to petition the court to institute a private prosecution against Nantaba and the police officers on grounds that they were accomplices to the murder.

Through their lawyer Muwada Nkunyingi, the family alleged that they had evidence that Nantaba gave misleading information to the police officers who ended up taking Ssebulime's life.

Nantaba had reportedly tipped police that she was being trailed by two men riding a grey Suzuki sports bike registration number UDL 822A in a threatening manner. She reportedly said that the suspected assassins had trailed her for a distance of about 40 kilometres from Sezibwa bridge up to Naggalama trading centre, prompting police to pursue them.

However, today, DPP Mike Chibita wrote to the Chief Magistrate's court in Mukono to discontinue the trial. Police spokesman Fred Enanga had earlier told journalists that Opira, Cherotich and Baganza, would be tried disciplinarily because they tried to conceal information on how Ssebulime had been killed by Ssali. He said the three could not face criminal trial for crimes committed by their senior.

The spokesperson for the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Jane Kajuga has confirmed the withdrawal of the charges and said that they will be going to court to tender in the document as required by the law.

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