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Pine Murder: Lawyers say culprit was never arrested

By Farooq Kasule

Added 18th March 2019 09:34 PM

Betty Donah Katusabe was allegedly killed on October 21, 2015, after being tortured at Pine Car Depot

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Muhammad Ssebuwufu (centre) talking to relatives during a hearing at High Court in February. Photo by Abou Kisige

Betty Donah Katusabe was allegedly killed on October 21, 2015, after being tortured at Pine Car Depot

Lawyers of the eight defendants including Pine Car Depot boss Muhammad Ssebuwufu, accused of complicity in the murder of businesswoman Betty Donah Katusabe, have asked the court to acquit them, saying the culprit was not arrested.

While making their final submission before High Court Judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga on Monday, the defence lawyers led by Caleb Alaka told the court that the culprit is Sam Kiwanuka alias Damage who is still at large.

“My Lord, we invite you to acquit all the accused because they had no claim against the deceased.  It is Kiwanuka who caused her arrest over a debt resulting from a Toyota Prado,” Alaka submitted.

Alaka told the court that although Ssebuwufu had also sold a Toyota Premio registration number UAX 481H to the deceased with an outstanding a balance of sh4.5m, he had already secured it through a cheque and that had no reason to hunt for her.

Katusabe was allegedly tortured to death over sh9m she owed to Ssebuwufu as debt for a vehicle she had acquired from him after remitting sh8m out of sh17m.

She was allegedly killed on October 21, 2015, after being tortured at Pine Car Depot that is located along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.

Alaka asked the court to consider the fact that Ssebuwufu was known to the deceased but she never mentioned him as among the people who assaulted her to acquit him.

"My lord, If Ssebuwufu participated in this murder, the deceased would have mentioned his name to the police officers who came to her rescue," Alaka said.

The defence lawyers have also asked the court to disregard the post-mortem report on grounds that it is riddled with confusion concerning the deceased’s exact cause of death.

“From the testimony of Dr Male Mutumba, one cannot tell whether the alleged injuries caused her death or the fats on her fibroids,” Alaka submitted.

The prosecution is slated to make their final submission in the matter on March 25.

Procedurally, after making final submissions, the judge sums up the case for the assessors to also advise the court on whether to convict or acquit the accused but their opinion is not binding.

After the assessor’s opinion, the judge will make a judgment in the matter.

Ssebuwufu is battling the charges together with Paul Tasingika, Shaban Odutu alias Golola, Philip Mirambe, Stephen Lwanga, Yoweri Kitayimbwa and Damaseni Ssentongo.

The prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large on October 21, 2015, Kidnapped Katusabe before beating her to death at pine car depot on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala over a sh9m debt.

In his defence, Ssebuwufu told the court that Katusabe was supposed to pay the balance on October 30, 2015, and that there was no reason for him to hunt for her.

The group is also accused of robbing the deceased of her cell phone worth sh300,000. 

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