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Kitatta runs to High Court to block trial at Army Court

By Michael Odeng, Farooq Kasule, Sarah Kisakye

Added 6th May 2018 01:54 PM

In his suit, Kitatta wants court to declare that his trial is defective, illegal and violates Article 28 (7) of the Constitution.

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In his suit, Kitatta wants court to declare that his trial is defective, illegal and violates Article 28 (7) of the Constitution.

MURDER

Jailed boda-boda 2010 patron Abdallah Kitatta has petitioned the Criminal Division of the High Court at Kampala, challenging his trial at the General Court Martial.

Kitatta filed the suit against Attorney General, Col. Gideon Katinda, Maj. John Bizimana, Maj. Raphael Mugisha, Capt. Samuel Masereje and Lt. Ambrose Baguma through Muyanja and Associates on Friday.

Katinda is the judge’s advocate, Bizimana is the court registrar while Mugisha, Masereje and Baguma are prosecutors.

In his suit, Kitatta wants court to declare that his trial is defective, illegal and violates Article 28 (7) of the Constitution.

“I am a civilian and, therefore, my trial at General Court Martial is defective, illegal in law, unlawful, pre-emptive and usurped the powers of the minister under the Firearms Act, Cap. 299 to determine the ammunitions of war thereby violating the Constitution by presiding over non-existent charges,” he argues.

He says the General Court Martial has no powers to detain him at the military facility because he is a civilian. Kitatta has so-far spent two months at Makindye Military Police barracks.

Kitatta, together with 12 other people, are battling six counts including unlawful possession of firearms, live ammunitions, military head gears and uniforms.

The army court is on Monday expected to rule on Kitatta’s bail application.

The military equipment includes two pistols, SMG rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition for the firearms, among others.

Other suspects are Sowali Ngobi, Amon Twinomujuni, Joel Kibirige, Matia Ssenfuka, Hassan Sebatta, Jonathan Kayondo, Hassan Ssengoba, Sunday Ssemwogerere, John Sebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika and Ibrahim Ssekajja.

Kitatta faces five counts of being in unlawful possession of an SMG gun, 3 pistols and 50 rounds of live ammunitions that prosecution states were found with him on January 18, 2018 at Vine Hotel in Wakaliga.

According to prosecution, the above items are a monopoly of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).

He also argues that Article 120 (3) of the Constitution empowers DPP to take over, continue or discontinue his case at the General Court Martial because he is a civilian and not a solider.

“Despite DPP being notified that I am a civilian, I was charged before the GCM, which neglects the constitutional mandate imposed by Article 120 of the Constitution to have civilians prosecuted before the magistrate’s court or high court,” Kitatta submits.

Kitatta also wants court to order the respondents to pay him damages and costs of the application with interest for violating his rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Justice Wilson Kwesiga, the head of the court is expected to hear the application. Meanwhile, the army court is expected to give its ruling on Kitatta’s bail application on Monday (Today).

Prosecution further alleges that the trio with 12 others in the same date was found in possession of military headgear (caps) and uniforms. However, Ngobi and Ssekajja are the only suspects who were not produced in court.

The arrest of Kittata followed a crackdown on suspects linked to the murder of Francis Ekalungar, the former accountant of Case Hospital. Most of the suspects are bodaboda 2010 members.

Ekalungar was kidnapped on January 2, this year by unknown assailants on his way to dfcu Bank to deposit over sh15m belonging to the hospital. A day later, his body burnt was found at Kajjansi off Entebbe Road.


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