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Treason witness file still missing

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th April 2006 03:00 AM

The vital file containing details of the information gathered by Lt. Migadde Ssemakula while spying on Reform Agenda (RA) during the 2001 elections is still missing, court heard yesterday.

By Anne Mugisa, Milton Olupot & Hillary Kiirya

The vital file containing details of the information gathered by Lt. Migadde Ssemakula while spying on Reform Agenda (RA) during the 2001 elections is still missing, court heard yesterday.

The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Byabakama Mugenyi, yesterday reported that the file had not been traced and requested for a week to trace it.

“I would like to report that following this court’s order yesterday requiring me to produce debriefing notes prosecution witness 3 (PW3) is said to have made to his superiors, I am informed that the notes have not been traced yet,” Byabakama said.

“It is our humble request that we be given this week to effectively comply with the order of this honourable court. Early next week, I will have the final position regarding these notes. I suggest most humbly that further cross-examination of this witness on the basis of the said notes be stayed until next week,” he said.

The court on Monday ordered the State to produce the file Migadde said he opened during the operations and named it “Operation Ssekanyolya”.

Migadde told the court on Monday that information was entered in the file whenever he debriefed his bosses on what was happening in RA.

Defence lawyer David Mpanga expressed dismay that records that concerned such a serious case could go missing. “It is of concern that these records which concern the most serious offence that can be committed against the State, namely treason, are apparently not readily available to ISO, which is responsible for the security of all Ugandans.

“My Lord, those records are essential for further cross-examination of PW3, My Lord it is our duty not to let the State off the hook. They have to find or, God forbid, make them. We are willing to give them all the time such that we can conclude,” Mpanga said.

Migadde, who was asked to bring his letter of confirmation of appointment in ISO and the deed of employment, presented his deployment letter before the court, saying that was all he had.

In another development, the third Acholi interpreter in the case, Florence Adong, stepped down, accusing the defence lawyers of peddling falsehoods about her that she was providing information to the witness.

“My Lord, following the allegation brought by (John) Matovu yesterday. I feel betrayed. I feel I am not trusted and I can’t continue working with people who do not trust me,” Adong said as Matovu uncomfortably moved in his seat.

“This is a case which interests every Ugandan and is very politically-sensitive. I feel my life, my future and profession are at stake. My Lord, I’m only an upcoming lawyer and I don’t want the integrity I have tried to build over the years to be frustrated by falsehoods. I therefore beg this court to allow me step down if that will do justice to the defence,” she said.

Justice Vincent Kagaba said Adong had expressed serious concerns over her life and future and court could not force her to continue.

Adong’s withdrawal, however, bogged down the court, which could not proceed with witness George Abedo, who was due for re-examination. Hearing resumed after Tom Patiba, an employee of Uganda Broadcasting Service, volunteered to interpret.

On re-examination by Byabakama, Abedo insisted that apart from raping, looting and murdering, the LRA had nothing much to offer.

He, however, later stated that LRA’s major struggle was to take over the Government.

Abedo insisted that he applied for amnesty, but told court that he had never seen a copy of an amnesty certificate. He also said he neither knew how it was issued nor how the process of application was handled.

The witness had in his main evidence told court that he had a certificate from the Amnesty Commission, but yesterday he handed in an application, which he perceived as a certificate.

Abedo said he was released by Gulu Chief Magistrate’s Court and was asked to keep reporting to the court.

“I kept reporting until I was forgiven and told to relax at home and since then, nobody has ever come looking for me,” he said.

He insisted that he killed some people, but on the orders of the rebel group leaders.

He said it was a policy that once one was abducted, one was forced to kill to become brave.

Abedo said he was brought to Kampala, where he met Besigye at his Bukoto office and that he was the main link between Maj. Ssalambwa and LRA’s Kwoyello.

At the end of the re-examination, Kagaba declared that he would not issue an arrest order for Abedo, because if the Police needed him, they had access to him in Gulu. The case resumes on Tuesday.

Treason witness file still missing

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