By Andrew Ssenyonga
KAMPALA - The two sides in a Court Martial case involving Lt. Col. Benson Olanya have clashed over the length of its adjournment.
Olanya is one of several senior UPDF officers facing trial over crimes they allegedly committed in Somalia where Uganda has peacekeepers under the auspices of the African Union.
The army man is battling charges of sexual harassment, fuel theft, offences relating to guard duties, abuse of office and violence to his juniors and failure to execute his duties since last October.
On Thursday, his trial saw state prosecutor Capt. Fredrick Kangwamu engage in a disagreement with defense lawyer Capt. Ronald Iduuli over holding the case for further mention.
The prosecution side got furious when Iduuli, a newly appointed defence counsel to the army court, told court he needed over a month to go through the case, saying he was new in the system.
He said he needed more time “to study the case and all other relevant details before I give my submissions”.
Enraged by the plea, lead prosecutor Kangwamu said it would be wasting the court’s time if the defense lawyer was granted that much time to study the case file.
“The case is well documented and the proceedings were filed. My fellow learned counsel doesn’t need all that time to peruse through the file.”
The prosecutor added that the suspect is diabetic and suffering from several illnesses, and that dragging the case would cost him. He urged court to allocate a shorter adjournment time in that respect.
The court was led by the newly appointed chairman Maj. Gen. Levi Karuhanga.
He intervened, and went on to give the defence team two weeks to examine the case file and report back to court on September 2.
The two warring sides had appeared before the army court to deliver their submission on a ‘no case to answer’ in the case before seeking for adjournment.
Meanwhile, two Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) junior officers who appeared at the General Court Martial that same day were remanded over failure to protect war material.
The duo was sent back to Makindye Military Police prison until Tuesday next week because the court was not fully constituted.
Capt. Bosco Mwanga, 32, was formerly attached to Battle Group XIII Air Defence Component at Kilometer (KM) 50 in Somalia as the commander and Lt. David Eloku 33, was attached to same group as a platoon commander.
They are accuseed of misusing 1000 rounds of ammunition by improperly disposing of it from the armoury without signing for them.
Lt Col Olanya trial: Warring sides clash over case delay time