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Kipoi loses bid to block Court Martial trial

By Michael Odeng, Barbra Kabahumuza

Added 17th October 2018 08:06 PM

Court noted that the former MP's trial at the General Court Martial has already commenced with prosecution presenting three witnesses

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Former Bubulo West MP Tony Nsubuga Kipoi (second right) in the General Court Martial dock with his co-accused during a hearing in May. Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba

Court noted that the former MP's trial at the General Court Martial has already commenced with prosecution presenting three witnesses

The High Court has dismissed an application by former Bubulo West MP, Tony Nsubuga Kipoi to block his trial at the army court.

Kipoi is accused of recruiting people into rebel activities with the aim of overthrowing the government. He is also accused of financing the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebel group.

At the civil division of the High Court on Wednesday, Judge Musa Sekaana dismissed Kipoi’s application with costs, saying blocking the trial will delay the determination of the case which would not serve the ends of justice.

“Kipoi has failed to adduce evidence that would have moved court to temporarily block his trial,” he ruled.

He noted that Kipoi’s trial at the General Court Martial has already commenced with prosecution presenting three witnesses.

“The court is willing to protect a citizen who is being wronged or deprived of property without any authority of law or without following procedures which are fundamental and vital in nature. But at the same time, judicial proceedings cannot be used to protect or perpetuate a wrong committed by a person who approaches the court, “he stated.

Sekaana added: “the court’s power can be exercised judicially and in public interest, no injunction causing administrative inconvenience or resulting in public mischief should be granted.”

 

The judge ruled that Kipoi’s triable issues of defective charge sheet and being charged with similar facts to the offence of treason which the DPP discontinued, can be addressed in criminal trial proceedings, adding that it would be erroneous raising them in a civil proceeding.

According to the judge, Kipoi did not lay out any facts to make him believe that he will not receive a fair trial at the army court.

Kipoi is battling treason charges alongside Sgt Yunus Lemeriga, Cpl Rogers Mweru, Sgt Adams Mawa, Sgt Albino Okeng and Pte Dodola Ijosiga, all soldiers attached to the armoured brigade in Masaka district.

Prosecution led by Maj. Raphael Mugisha alleges that the accused and others still at large between November 2012 and December 2013 in diverse places of Kampala, Wakiso, Nakasongola, Fort Portal, Ntoroko and Masaka, convened meetings to recruit soldiers to jeopardise the security of the country.

The court will next week hear Kipoi’s main application in which he contends that the General Court Martial has no powers to try him on the offences that were dropped by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

“I want court to declare that the court martial is a subordinate court to the High Court and that it has no powers to try me for offences similar or and related to the offences which DPP dropped.”

Kipoi argues that when the DPP discharged him of treason, security personnel started trailing him and on realising that his life was in danger, he fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he was granted political asylum and he subsequently relocated to Botswana.

On February 3, 2018, Kipoi was arrested in Botswana on accusations of masquerading as a witchdoctor and defrauding four female victims of more than 290,000 Pula (about sh111.6m), and deported back to Uganda.

Kipoi, therefore, wants court to declare that the institution of criminal proceedings against him in the army court by the DPP was illegal and unconstitutional because he is a civilian.

Kipoi has also asked court to compel the army to release him from Luzira Prison and order it to return his passport and other travel documents.

Timeline

  • On March 10, 2018, Kipoi was charged with human trafficking before Nakawa Court.
  • In 2014, the DPP withdrew treason charges against Kipoi over lack of witnesses.
  • In 2013, Kipoi was charged with treason at Buganda Road Court.
  • On February 3, 2018, Kipoi was deported, from Botswana.
  • On March 19, 2018, Kipoi was freshly charged with offences related to security at the GCM and remanded to Luzira Prison.

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