TOP
Saturday,September 19,2020 12:57 PM

Court Martial Charges Kashaka

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th January 2004 03:00 AM

BRIGADIER Stephen Kashaka was the only officer charged at the General Court Martial yesterday out of 15 others implicated in the ghost soldier scam.

BRIGADIER Stephen Kashaka was the only officer charged at the General Court Martial yesterday out of 15 others implicated in the ghost soldier scam.

By Alfred Wasike and Solomon Muyita

BRIGADIER Stephen Kashaka was the only officer charged at the General Court Martial yesterday out of 15 others implicated in the ghost soldier scam.

Kashaka, the UPDF representative to the East African Community, told a fully packed court presided over by Lt. Gen. Elly Tumwine that he could not afford a lawyer and requested the army to get him one.

The other suspects with pending charges include former Internal Security Organisation (ISO) chief Brig. Henry Tumukunde, former chief of staff, Brig. Nakibus Lakara, former Third Division commander, Col. Andrew Gutti, former chief of personnel and administration (CPA), Col. Mark Kodili, former Second Division commander, Col Poteli Kivuna, Col. Stephen Othieno, former Alpine Brigade commander, Lt. Col. Dura Mawa, former General Court Martial member, Maj. Julius Bakirana and, Maj. Robert Nsabiyunva.

Others are captains Michael Baryaguma, Romeo Nyabagye.

Others are Lt Edward Musoke, WO1 Sam Turyamureba and Sgt. Bernard Turyamushanga.

Top UPDF officers among them Lt Gen Mugisha Muntu and former ESO chief, David Pulkol attended.

The court located at Makindye, a southern city suburb, was guarded by Military Police.

But the court presided over by Lt. Gen. Elly Tumwine hit a technical hitch when Kashaka, in a dock fortified with heavy steel bars, complained that the charge sheet was defective.

Kashaka’s advocate, Sgt Mugerwa Lukwago, advised his client not to plead to the charge, saying the charge sheet described him as a public officer yet the constitution does not list members of the UPDF as such.

Prosecution alleged that in April 2000, Kashaka as the chief of personnel and administration, used his office to fraudulently receive sh2m meant for the defence ministry’s civilian workers.

“Have you understood the charges against you?,” Tumwine asked. “Yes sir,” replied Kashaka.

The court that sat at 11:31am with the swearing-in of Brig Ivan Koreta as the seventh member of the panel, was locked in arguments between Kashaka’s lawyer assisted by other private lawyers and the 10 prosecutors led by John Katende on whether the charge sheet was defective or not.

A number of lawyers among them MP Abdu Katuntu, McDusman Kabega, oscar Kambona and Paul Kiapi attended but it was not clear whom they represented.

“According to the constitution, UPDF officers and men are not included in the list of public officers.

A public officer is someone who holds a public office and works in the public service and my client is not,” Mugerwa argued.

“The charge sheet is very clear and does not refer to the accused as a public officer. It only says he was employed in a public body and according to the Prevention of Corruption Act, a public body includes the Government and its departments and services,” said Katende.

Katende’s statement provoked loud reaction from about 10 private lawyers. Kenneth Kakuru argued, “The issue of constitutionalism is very important. This office is in a public body. This should not be ignored.”

Oboth Okumu said, “I am very embarrassed by the prosecution. Instead of conceding the error and amending your charge sheet, you are wasting court’s time.”

Oscar Kambona said, “This matter should be referred to the Constitutional Court for authoritative interpretation.”

The judge advocate, Capt. Wilson Mwesigwa, advised the court to deliberate on the matter and make a ruling. Tumwine ruled, “The interpretation of the Constitution is very important here.

At this juncture it is pertinent that the court rests for sometime so that we can consult on whether this is a constitutional issue or not.” He adjourned the court to today at 10:00am.

Court Martial Charges Kashaka

Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author