By Pascal Kwesiga
Lawyers representing the Internal Security Organization (ISO) director of marines, Maj. Herbert Muramagi have clashed with the state prosecutors over the right to bail and “long” investigations of the case brought against their client.
Defense lawyers, Capt. Nasser Drago, Nsubuga Mubiru and Allan Sseruliika clashed with state prosecutor; Capt. Gerald Bamwitirebye after he (Bamwitirebye) asked court to briefly adjourn before they could respond to Muramagi’s bail application.
He said they needed time to study the documents contained in Muramagi’s bail application before they can reply.
Muramagi is facing charges of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline before the General court martial at Makindye.
The state alleges that, Muramagi, with others still at large, plotted to kill his superiors between last May and February this year. He allegedly committed the offense in diverse places in Kampala.
He was brought to court to attend the second mention of his case and to file a bail application.
Bamwitirebye submitted that they could not respond to Muramagi’s bail application immediately because the state was not aware if the accused’s sureties, Majors Aguma Hatega, Were Melkzadeck, Charles Ndawula and Jackson Kakuru were not accomplices in crime.
“We are unable to proceed with a reply. This is not a battle field, we know he has a right to bail but we cannot be ambushed,” Bamwitirebye said.
He submitted that the defense furnished the state with an affidavit of Jane Muramagi (accused’s wife) in support of her husband’s bail application and particulars of the sureties a few minutes before court convened to hear the application.
“We need time to verify the sureties, we do not know if they are accomplices,” Bamwitirebye added.
Although the state received the notice of motion for the bail application and an affidavit from the accused in support of his application, he said, they needed to study the affidavit of the accused’s wife, a medical report from the accused’s personal doctor, particulars of the sureties and documents obtained from the Kazinga LCI chairman in Ntinda-Kiwatule where the accused lives.
Bamwitirebye explained that although the accused’s lawyers filed a notice of motion introducing the bail application, followed by the accused’s affidavit with the court registrar, these documents were not served to the state immediately. “We received the documents on March 19. Filing is another issue and serving in a different one,” he added.
Sseruliika submitted that bail is constitutional right that cannot be denied on the basis that part of the documents required to consider his client’s application were filed late.
“The state is not interested in dispensing justice. If they had interest, they should have replied now, bail is an urgent matter,” he added.
Sseruliika wondered why Bamwitirebye doubted the substantiality of the sureties yet they were his superiors approved by the ISO director general to stand surety for their colleague.