By Job Bwire
THE defense lawyers in a case in which Adam Suleiman Kalungi, the key suspect in the death of former Butaleja woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda and five others are accused of manslaughter have asked court to acquit all the accused on claims that prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
The defense told Makindye Magistrates court presided over by Ester Nambayo that all the circumstantial evidence that was adduced in court by prosecution points to other probable factors that might have caused Nebanda’s death, other than narcotics or cocaine as alleged by prosecution and thus no prima facie case proven against the accused.
Prosecution alleges that Kalungi, Noor Abubakar, Khan Babu, Abdul Abid Rashid Butt, Ali Omar Almuzahim and Fatuma Babu on December 14, 2012 in Buziga, Makindye Division Kampala unlawfully caused the death of MP Nebanda.
They are also accused of two other counts, including unlawful possession and supply of narcotic drugs.
However, in their submissions on no case to answer by the accused on Monday, the defence submitted contesting all the evidence adduced by all the 21 prosecution witnesses, claiming it was inconclusive, full of lies, contradictory and inconsistent.
“For instance, in her evidence, the commandant of Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Beata Chelimo told this court that on the fateful day (December 14, 2012) during her investigations, she heard Nebanda’s mother weeping, saying her daughter had been poisoned but she did not go ahead to record her statement or interview her to establish the credibility of her allegations,” said one of the defence lawyers, Nsubuga Mubiru.
Mubiru also argued that prosecution evidence had revealed that Nebanda’s mother and her brother were the last people to be with her in Munyonyo before she died.
“But still prosecution did not produce them in court to give their evidence. When asked why, Madam Chlimo said it was unfair for them to be arraigned in court since they were still grieving their daughter’s death yet these were key witnesses who could have,” Mubiru added.
MacDosman Kabega, another defence lawyer also told court that the fourteenth prosecution witness, Jamaririyamv Bigirimana, a 23 year-old Rwandese national had confessed to peddling drugs.
According to Kabega, Bigirimana had admitted that he was living in Uganda illegally, supplying drugs to different people yet this was unlawful.
“In any case, it should be Bigirimana in that dock and not the six accused people. Besides, it simply shows that the state is exercising selective prosecution of the accused,” said Kabega.
Further, defense argued that the reports from examinations of the samples of Nebanda’s body parts sent to UK and Israel were inconclusive and different in findings.
“Amongst the materials sent were urine, blood, kidney and liver. However, the lab in UK opted to rely on urine and blood yet as far as prosecution evidence is concerned, the source of that urine is questionable. According to Chelimo, the urine was collected from Mukwaya General Hospital yet from the same evidence, Nebanda died on their way to Mukwaya. How then was urine extracted from a dead Nebanda?” asked Mubiru.
“Besides, the two reports had different findings. They also stated that the concentration of the substance found in Nebanda’s body was too low to cause Nebanda’s death. That if it was alcohol, she should have taken 30 times what was found in her blood and that if it was cocaine, it needed 200 times more cocaine than what was found in her blood to kill her,” said Mubiru.
That it was these inconclusive reports and the report from the government analytical laboratory that the lead pathologist, Dr. Henry Wabinga allegedly made his inconclusive report that cocaine was the cause of Nebanda’s death.
In his response however, the principal state attorney, Andrew Odit argued that he had proved his case beyond reasonable doubt and that a prima facie case had been established against all the six accused people,including Kalungi.
Odit argued that he had proved all the ingredients amounting to manslaughter and hence calling for court to put them on defense.
“Your honor there was death of Nebanda resulting from negligence of the accused and consumption of the cocaine supplied and found in possession of the accused,” Odit said.
“Besides, there was unlawful omission and it is the accused persons who caused her death,” he added.
Odit further argued that the conduct of Kalungi after Nebanda’s death revealed that he was not innocent either.
“He first abandoned the body at Mukwaya general clinic before fleeing the country,” Odit added.
Nambayo adjourned the case to November 8 for ruling on whether Kalungi and his co-accused have a case to answer.