TOM Nkurungira alias Tonku, who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Brenda Karamuzi, yesterday continued his defence before Justice Albert Rugadya Atwooki, at the Kampala High Court.
He presented five witnesses and closed his defence. Prosecution, led by Joan Kagezi, alleges that Karamuzi was murdered by Nkurungira and his shamba boy Fred Ssempijja between January 21 and January 30 last year at Kijjwa zone-Bukasa in the Kampala suburb of Muyenga.
Both the accused deny the charges. Tonku is represented by John Barenzi while Ssempijja is represented by Janet Nakakande. Milton Olupot and Andante Okanya followed the proceedings.
Defence witness number two Pope Ahimbisibwe takes the witness stand and takes an oath
John Barenzi (JB): State your names?
Ahimbisibwe: Pope Ahimbisibwe
JB: How old are you?
Ahimbisibwe: I am 35 years.
JB: Where do you live?
JB: Are you employed?
Ahimbisibwe: Yes, I am
JB: State the nature of your employment.
Ahimbisibwe: I am an advocate.
JB: Do you hold any position?
Ahimbisibwe: I am a partner with Kateera and Kagumire Advocates.
JB: Do you know accused A1(Tonku)?
Ahimbisibwe: I have only known him this year through the newspapers.
JB: Did you know the deceased?
Ahimbisibwe: Yes, I did.
JB: How did you know her?
Ahimbisibwe: Through Alex Twesigye, my cousin brother, who is married to Sheba, a sister to Brendaâ€™s mum (Joy Karamuzi), and also through another cousin, Maureen Kesiime, who was with Brenda at UCU (Uganda Christian University, Mukono) doing different courses.
JB: What was the nature of your relationship with the deceased?
Ahimbisibwe: It is simply that I knew her through Maureen, who was staying with me. First, in Bukoto, then in Ntinda.
JB: Did Brenda ever come to your home?
Ahimbisibwe: She visited like once, according to my recollection
JB: Were you in constant contact with Brenda?
Ahimbisibwe: Not really. Once in a while we could bump into each other at parties
JB: How long had you known Brenda?
Ahimbisibwe: Since 2004.
JB: Do you recall the last time you spoke to her?
Ahimbisibwe: It was January 22 last year.
JB: Did you call Brenda or did she call you?
Ahimbisibwe: She beeped me and I called back
JB: Was her number pre-recorded?
Ahimbisibwe: Yes, Let me take you back. In early January last year, I wanted to sell my land in Lubowa estate just near Lubowa Gardens. So, I put a sign and my mobile phone number. Three weeks before her death, she was there at a party and when she tried the number out, she found that it was mine. So she said she could help me get a buyer and wanted a commission. I agreed. So, on January 22 when she beeped me, I called and she told me she was in touch with some Sudanese Arabs at AYA, where she worked. She said they would be here in a weekâ€™s time and would buy the land. I was selling at sh55m but I told her she could add the price, and get her commission.
JB: During the course of your conversation, did she tell you where she was staying?
Ahimbisibwe: She said she was visiting someone in Muyenga
JB: Did she tell you who?
Ahimbisibwe: I didnâ€™t ask her .
Judge: What is your mobile phone number?
JB: Look at that entry (hands over printout to Ahimbisibwe).Give us the date you see.
Ahimbisibwe: Its January 22, 2010.
JB: Tell us the time the call was made?
JB: Do you recognise the number?
Ahimbisibwe: I can see number.
JB: Now Mr Ahimbisibwe, is that the call made to the deceased on January 22, 2010?
Ahimbisibwe: That should be the call.
JB: Did you try calling the deceased again?
Ahimbisibwe: I donâ€™t recall trying to call the deceased again.
Judge: Counsels, any questions?
Kagezi: No questions
Nakakande: No questions
Judge: Assessors, would you like to ask the witnesses some questions?
Assessors: No (in unison).
John Barenzi introduces another defence witness, Peter Kasedde.
Witness introduces himself as Peter Kasede (PK). He told court that he knew Tonku. He also said he knew Sempijja. He got to know Tonku during their university days in India and that although they studied in different universities, they met often. He said they had since maintained a close relationship.
JB: Were you in the habit of visiting him in his residence?
JB: Where were you staying?
PK: In Busega.
JB: What about the accused, was he in the habit of visiting you?
PK: Yes, he did visit me.
JB: Focus yourself to January 18, 2010.
PK: On that day, I visited the accused between 10:00am and 12:00pm. While there, the deceased joined us.
Judge: Who is the deceased?
PK: The deceased is Brenda Karamuzi.
JB: What time did she come?
PK: Around 11:00am, she joined us and she was offered a drink. I left them at home.
JB: Did she carry anything?
PK: I remember she had a hand bag.
JB: Did she enter any room?
PK: She went into the room and later came out holding her handbag.
JB: I take you to January 22, 2010. What day was it?
PK: It was a Friday.
JB: Where were you?
PK: I was in my office?
JB: Were you visited by anybody?
PK: Yes, Tom came to my office.
JB: What was the purpose of the visit?
PK: That was the time we had lost a friend. So, we were organising for the burial which Tom was coordinating.
JB: What was the name of the friend?
PK: Erias Kagimu. He passed away in the US after suffering from Kidney problems.
JB: Did he also go to university in India with you?
PK: Yes, he was with us. We were collecting money for transporting the body from the US, for the funeral service and for other burial arrangements.
JB: On leaving your office, did he tell you where he was going?
PK: He said he was going to Jesseâ€™s office on Parliamentary Avenue.
JB: What does Jesse do?
PK: He is a lawyer.
JB: Did you see Tom again?
PK: Yes at The pub.
Judge: What pub?
PK: The place is called The Pub, my Lord.
JB: Did you see Tom?
PK: Yes, I found Tom with Ben Bitature, Peter Musoke. David Kiggundu and other people. We had lunch together.
JB: How long did this lunch session last?
PK: I was there for about one hour and went back to my office.
JB: When you had lunch, was there any specific subject?
PK: The main subject was Erias Kagimu.
JB: Did you see Tonku again.
PK: At 6:00pm, I went to the same place. I found Tom with the other people that I left him with.
JB: Did you communicate with Tonku?
PK: No, I communicated with one of them. When I got there, we took about one hour and then went to the vigil in Kansanga.
JB: How did you move from The Pub to the vigil?
PK: I drove with Tom and David Kigozi. We got there at about 8:00pm and we were there for about two hours. We left at about 11:00pm and walked to Divas Bar and Restaurant.
JB: Why did you leave the vigil.
PK: The meeting ended, so we left.
JB: Were you joined by other people?
PK: We were joined by Jonathan Bakwega. After, I went home. The next day, we met at Car Wash and went for lunch in Ntinda.
JB: Did Tom tell you where he went after Divas?
PK: We did not discuss that.
JB: Did you see him again?
PK: I saw him the next day. We met at Chrisâ€™ home at Nsambya Estate and went to Entebbe to pick the remains of Erias. The following day, we went for burial in Butambala.
JB: When did you see Tonku again?
PK: On 29th, we met and went to Kembabazi for lunch.
JB: What happened after?
PK: I went back to office and joined them later at the Rouge at about 8:00pm. He was in the company of friends. We were there till about midnight.
JB: Did you change the venue?
PK: Yes, we left and went to Punchline Bar. Later, we were joined by my wife.
JB: Why was your wife joining you late in the night?
PK: There was a show that day in town and we had agreed with her that after the show she would come and find me at Punchline.
JB: Where did you go after?
PK: We left for home. Tom went with us.
JB: Why didnâ€™t he go to his home?
PK: At Punchline, he asked for a lift, but I refused since it was late. I told him he could spend a night at my place.
JB: Had he spent a night there before?
PK: Yes, my Lord. The next day, I left him still asleep at my home. He later called me saying a friend of ours had been arrested for drink-driving and was at Kabalagala Police Station and needed assistance.
JB: Who was the friend?
PK: Chris Bagaluka. He asked for transport. I told the house maid to give him the key to the car that was at home.
JB: No more questions my Lord.
Cross examination by Janet Nakakande (JN), Fred Sempijjaâ€™s lawyer. PK said he often met with Tonku. He said on January 22 he parted with Tonku at about 1:00am, but saw him the next day. He also told court that he knew Brenda as Tonkuâ€™s girlfriend. He identified two statements that he made to the Police, one on February 22, and the other in April. In the statement, the witness said Tonku did not mention anywhere about Brendaâ€™s disappearance. He denied Nakakandeâ€™s assertion that the second statement was made for Kasedde to cover up for Tonku.
Joan Kagezi (JK) cross examines Kasede.
JK: Would it surprise you if you learnt that Tom told court that on January 18 he stayed at home for the whole day?
PK: It would be surprising.
JK: So, did Tom lie to Court that he stayed at home?
PK: I met him in town.
JK: Was it a working day?
PK: Yes, it was a working day.
JK: Go to January 22. What time did you leave Dewinton Road?
Kasedde tells court that they left Dewinton road at about 7:00pm with Tonku since he did not have a car.
JK: What is so special with that day such that you remember every detail vividly?
PK: On that day, we had a meeting at the vigil.
JK: Would you find it absurd that they say they went to Club Silk?
JK: Would you have gone to Club Silk yourself at the time you were mourning for your friend?
PK: I donâ€™t know.
Judge: What do you mean?
PK: I would have gone, or I would not have gone depending on the circumstances.
Judge: Is it absurd that they went to Club Silk at the time they were mourning?
PK: It is absurd, my Lord.
JK: Did Tom tell you about Brendaâ€™s disappearance from Jan 22 to Jan 29?
PK: No. I learnt about it at the Police station.
JK: That means Tom used to conceal a lot of things from you. Am I right to say that?
PK: Yes, you would be right.
JK: Why did you take Tom to spend a night at your house when his home was nearer to the pub?
PK: Tomâ€™s home was farther from where we were.
JK: No more questions my Lord.
Barenzi re-examines peter Kasedde.
JB: Address your mind to January 22. Look at the last sentence of your statement. Reads: â€œ he did not have a steady girlfriend. On some dates, he would be with Brenda and Susan Nabukeera.â€ Why did you single out those two?
PK: I saw the two on several occasions.
JB: Would I be right to say that Tom had a peculiar relationship with Brenda?
JB: Did you as friends tell each other about your girlfriends?
Judge: You told court that you found out about Brendaâ€™s disappearance at the Police station?
PK: Yes, when I went to Police station, that is when we were told that a body was found at Tomâ€™s place and that it was for Brenda.
Judge: Who told you?
PK: We were watching on TV.
Judge: In Police?
Verbatim to continue
Judge: How did you get to Police?
PK: Tom went to Police, but did not have money to rescue Chris. So, I told him I would find him there.
Judge: Tonku did not have money?
PK: He did not have.
Judge: From the time you were at Tomâ€™s house up to the time the body was found, did he ever mention Brenda at all?
PK: Tonku never mentioned Brenda at all.
Judge: Did her name ever surface in your discussions?
PK: He never used to talk about her.
Judge: Do you remember him acting strange?
PK: As far as I know, he never acted strange at all.
Another Defence Witness Jonathan Bakwega (Jona), a resident of Biziga, takes the stand. He says he works as Finance and administration manager for both Kampala Casino and Pyramid Casino in the city.
JB: Go straight to January 22 2010.
VERBATIM: Tonku friends defend him