By Job Bwire and Edward Anyoli
Adam Kalungi, the said boyfriend of the late Butaleja woman MP, Cerinah Nebanda, has been convicted of manslaughter on grounds that he was negligent and never took Nebanda to hospital in time.
His co-accused were acquitted of during the ruling at the Makindye Chief Magistrate's court on Friday.
Kalungi was however, acquitted on counts of possession and supply of drugs. His co-accused Ali Omar was convicted of possession of drugs while the other four were acquitted of all the charges.
Adam Kalungi in court listening to the judgment. PHOTO/Richard Sanya
According to prosecution led by Andrew Odiit, on December 14, 2012 in Buziga, Makindye Division Kampala, Kalungi, Noor Abubakar, Khan Babu, Abdul Abid Rashid Butt, Ali Omar Almuzahim and Fatuma Babu caused the death of MP Nebanda.
They were also charged with two separate counts, including unlawful possession and supply of narcotic drugs between September and December 2012, contrary to the National Drug policy Act.
Kalungi was arrested on Friday January 4 last year in Kenya where he had fled after the death of his girlfriend, Nebanda and later extradited to Uganda. However, before his arrest, Kalungi's co-accused persons who are Ugandan nationals of Pakistan origin had already been arrested.
When first arraigned in court on January 7 last year, Kalungi pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter but the trial Chief Magistrate, Ester Nambayo declined to enter the plea and instead adjourned court to the following day.
When the case came up for further mention that day (January 8), Kalungi changed his plea to not guilty, consequently leading to the one year-old controversial trial that never saw the attendance of any of Nebanda's relatives in court.
During the hearing of the case, the three-man prosecution team insisted that Kalungi and his accomplices were responsible for causing Nebanda's death by supplying her with narcotic drugs.
Further, prosecution argued that it was from his apartment in Buziga, Kampala that Nebanda consumed the drug that allegedly killed her. That it was from his home that Kalungi and his accomplices took the deceased to the Nsambya General Clinic, where her death was pronounced.
Kalungi, however denied all the allegations, maintaining that he was innocent. During the hearing of the defense case, one of the defense lawyers, Nsubuga Mubiru argued that it was Nebanda's mother who clearly knew the circumstances that led to her death because she was the last person Nebanda met before her fate.
The five-man defense team further argued that in any case, if Nebanda died after consuming drugs, then she must have self-administered them and therefore, Kalungi or his co-accused could not be held liable.
"It is on record that on the fateful day (December 14, 2012) Kalungi returned home at around 4:00pm, only to find Nebanda on the floor and already in a bad shape. It is then that he sought for medical attention in form of first aid to help save her life," Mubiru said.
"Besides, Kalungi did not owe Nebanda any duty for him to be held liable for her death since she was not his wife," Mubiru added.
In her response, one of the three state prosecutors, Samali Wakholi refuted all the claims by the defense lawyers, adding that prosecution had proved all the ingredients amounting to manslaughter and possession or supply of narcotic drugs.
"Your worship, there was death of the victim as evidenced in the postmortem report. And the death was unlawfully caused by the accused persons, as indicated on court record," Wakholi said.
"Besides, the fact that the accused persons were found in possession of restricted drugs was itself dangerous enough to cause death," Wakholi added.
This therefore leaves the matter in Nambayo's hand to decide whether Kalungi and his co-accused are guilty or innocent.