• Jul 03, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • Businessman demands sh400m over detention

According to court documents, Bazibu was in December last year removed from Kitalya Prison by security operatives and taken to Makindye Military Police barracks.
Michael Odeng
Journalist @New Vision

COURT | FIREARM | BAZIBU 

KAMPALA - Entebbe businessman Francis Bazibu is demanding sh400m in compensation over what he terms as illegal trial and detention in Makindye Military Police Barracks.

According to court documents, Bazibu was in December last year removed from Kitalya Prison by security operatives and taken to Makindye Military Police barracks, a move his lawyer Umaru Lukwago and wife Fiona Namazzi have since protested.

“The applicant is detained in a place not authorised for the detention of civilians. Since he has been in illegal detention from December last year to date, under horrible conditions, this court should compensate him for illegal detention and trial,” Lukwago asked Justice Musa Seekaana. 

Bazibu is battling a charge of unlawful possession of ammunition before the General Court Martial (GCM) in Makindye.

Final submissions 

In his final submissions, Lukwago has requested Ssekaana, the head of the Civil Division of the High Court, to declare that GCM lacks impartiality and competent jurisdiction to try Bazibu.

He also requests that Bazibu be tried by a civil court and taken back to Kitalya Prison. Lukwago argues that a bullet of a submachine gun (SMG) is not the monopoly of the defence forces to warrant jurisdiction in a military court.

The lawyer submitted that the military court lacks independence to try a civilian with any offence outside the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Act.

Lukwago cited the case of Lt. Ambrose Ogwang, where the military court convicted and sentenced the latter to death over murder and aggravated robbery under the Penal Code Act, but the Court of Appeal justices Kenneth Kakuru, Egonda Ntende and Hellen Obura ordered Ogwang’s retrial in a civil court.

Referring to the ruling of the justices, the lawyer submitted that military courts are quasi-judicial bodies established to instil military discipline in soldiers yet his client (Bazibu) is a civilian.

“Courts that try any criminal charge or civil offenders must be independent in terms of Article 28 (1) of the Constitution which military courts are not. Military courts are manned by military personnel including the chairperson, prosecutors and defence counsel,” Lukwago noted. 

Defence 

In rebuttal, Capt. Ambroz Guma, the acting director of prosecutions in the UPDF, said they received intelligence information about the threat to Bazibu’s safety at Kitalya Prison, hence his transfer.

“This is a decision that was made at the discretion of court and if the applicant is dissatisfied, he can appeal against it before the Court Martial Appeal Court as provided for under the UPDF Act,” Guma argued.

Background

Court documents indicate that plain-clothes men arrested Bazibu on October 31 last year, at Okello House in Kampala, where he had gone to attend a meeting.

The documents further show that on November 11, Police officers, attached to Kajjansi Police Station and other security operatives conducted a search at the accused’s home at Bwebajja and found a bullet.

The accused was first arraigned at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence unit disciplinary committee after Justice Emmanuel Baguma ordered security operatives to produce him in court and later charged in the General Court Martial.

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Articles