By Fred Kiva
The Defence Deputy Spokesman Lt Colonel Deo Akiiki has said that the security deployment at the court martial in Makindye is always present whenever suspects are brought to the court.
This was after we asked him about the deployment ahead of the trial of Bodaboda 2010 Chairman Abdullah Kitatta and his twelve co-accused.
“Court Martial should always be secure,” he said ina brief telephone chat.
Kitatta and his colleagues face charges of failure to protect war material and unlawful possession of military stores. Charges of failure to protect war material carry a maximum sentence of death upon conviction, while unlawful possession of military stores carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The accused had in their first appearance on February 13, 2018 refused to take plea protesting their trial in the army court yet they are civilians. Court remanded them to Luzira Prison. The army has however defended the civilians’ trial in the military court saying the charges they face are triable under Section 122(1) and (2)h and (i) of the UPDF Act 2005 and Section 161 of the same Act.
At the time of filing this story the General Court Martial was in session at Makindye, with Kitatta and his co-accused in court. His co-accused include Sowali Ngobi, Amon Twinomujuni, Joel Kibirige, Matia Ssenfuka, Hassan Ssebata, Johnson Kayondo, Hassan Ssengoba, Sunday Ssemogerere, John Ssebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika and Ibrahim Ssekaja.
Kitatta and his Co-accused were arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) over their alleged involvement in the murder of Case Hospital Accountant Francis Ekalungar on January 2, 2018. Ekalungar was reportedly murdered on his way to bank 15million Hospital funds and his body set alight in Kajjansi.
Kitatta was arrested on January 20, a day after CMI had apprehended his young brother, Huzairu Kiwalabye over the kidnap and killing of the Case Hospital accountant. However police later exonerated Kitatta and his group of the murder charges.
The army has since charged them with four criminal charges of failure to protect war material contrary to section 122(1) and (2)h and (i) of the UPDF Act 2005.They also face another charge of unlawful possession of military stores contrary to Section 161 of the UPDF Act.
It’s alleged that Kitatta and his co-accused were found in possession of two pistols (Serial no.UGPOL00753421813 and DEPOIDEAS2008 and a Submachine gun (SMG) Serial No.UE4467/1998, which weapons are a monopoly of the defense forces. The group was also found with 30 rounds of loose ammunition.