Home news Court grants cash bail to Katanga murder suspects

Court grants cash bail to Katanga murder suspects

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Both daughters of the late katanga, Patricia Kakwanza and Martha Nkwanzi Katanga, domestic worker and Dr. Charles Otai appearing before court.

The High Court Criminal Division Judge Isaac Muwata has granted cash bail of two million shillings to four suspects facing charges arising from the murder of businessman Henry Katanga who was killed more than three months ago.

The suspects are the deceased’s two daughters, Martha Nkwanzi and Patricia Kankwanzi who are charged with destroying evidence, alongside a shamba boy George Amanyire and a Nurse Charles Otai who are charged with being accessories after the fact of murder.

On Monday, the group  appeared before Justice Muwata  for ruling on their respective applications   made about a month ago.

Their applications were made by their lawyers Jet Tumwebaze, MacDusman Kabega, Bruce Musinguzi and Ellison Karuhanga.

Kankwanzi, the first applicant, presented her husband Wilson Mwine Mukulu, who deals in solar energy, her mother-in-law Zakye Merian Kyamanyanga, the owner of Shell fuel station opposite the High court, and her father-in-law Herbert Kamugisha, who deals in real estate and farming, as her sureties.

Similarly, Nkwazi, the second applicant, presented her husband Christian Kivuna, a distributor with Nile Breweries, Willis Bashasha, a family friend working with the Office of the President as director in charge of manifesto, and her niece Harriet Hada Mucunguzi, the property manager at the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), as her sureties.

Charles Otai presented his wife Shamim Nakasujja, finance assistant at AfriChild Centre, his mother-in-law Kaaya Hasifah Bukenya, a marketing manager with Chess Homes, his sister Christine Alamo, an assistant chef, and his brother Godfrey Opio, a UPDF officer at Magamaga, as his sureties.

The fourth suspect, Amanyire, presented Joab Tushabe, a businessman dealing in mobile money, Shallon Murungi, a waitress at Bugolobi Canteen, and Anthony Atwijukire, a boda boda rider, as his sureties.

One of the accused persons, Kankwanzi, stated that she is suffering from fluctuating severe hypertension, heart disease, chronic clinical gastric conditions with upper GIT bleeding tendencies, and obesity, which require her to have regular access to specialized medical treatment and monitoring.

She claimed to have no access to the required medical attention at Luzira Prison women’s wing where she is on remand. The two sisters, Nkwanzi and Kakwanzi, also claimed  it’s their constitutional right to apply for bail because they are innocent of the charges levied against them.

Nkwanzi specifically mentioned that she is a new mother with a breastfeeding baby whom the court should allow to be nurtured by her mother. On the other hand, Amanyire and Otai pleaded with the court to release them on bail because they were the sole breadwinners of their young families.

However, the Prosecution, led by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions  Samalie Wakooli and state Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya, opposed the application on grounds that the applicants are likely to abscond, considering that some had to appear only upon the issuance of a warrant of arrest.

The Prosecution argued that the accused persons have no fixed places of abode, and if they do, there is no evidence to prove the same. They also contended that the sureties presented were not substantial since some of them had no valid documents to submit to court.

According to the prosecution, the applicants did not raise any valid exceptional circumstances, and those that resemble the circumstances do not fit within the meaning of the law. The prosecution pointed out that the medical reports attached by the first and second applicants regarding their health conditions do not qualify as grave illness as required by Section 15 of the Trial Indictments Act.

They criticized the medical doctor who authored the reports, saying that he lacked the qualifications to make the conclusions he did, as he is not a cardiologist but rather qualified in general medicine.

Consequently, the Prosecution requested the court to deny bail. In case the court is inclined to grant bail, they proposed stringent bail terms, including depositing land titles and passports with the court, making a weekly reporting order to the registrar, and having their sureties committed to a compelling bond of not less than 100 million each.

In his ruling today, Justice Muwata has found the sureties presented by the accused persons to be substantial with capacity and  authority to compel them  to return for trial whenever required by the Court.

He said that the deceased’s daughters Kankwanzi and Nkwanzi presented exceptional circumstances for grant of bail having adduced  medical letters to show that they are respectively suffering from diabetes and postpartum complications  diagnosed after child birth at Roswell Hospital. Court found that Nkwanzi has a new born baby  who needs  her special care.

Whereas the DPP informed court that the accused persons were already committed to High Court for trial and that they will interfere with investigations and  Prosecution witnesses, the Judge has found that this is an issue that requires evidence not a mere speculation.

The Court has  further found that Amanyire and Otai had already clocked the 60 days in prison on remand without  the trial  commencing , and as such they are entitled for mandatory bail.

Accordingly, each of their sureties has been ordered to execute a non cash bail of 20 million shillings and the accused.

The  Court has  also ordered the accused persons not to travel out of the country without courts permission and that they should deposit their passport with the court.

According to the Judge, all the accused persons  will report to the Registrar of the High Court every first Monday of the month starting March 4th 2024.

Meanwhile the accused person’s lawyers led by Jet Tumwebaze  have complained  that State agents have approached their client George Amanyire at Kigo prison and coerced   him to change his statement and implicate his fellow accused in exchange for his freedom.

Tumwebaze says this is a wrong move by the DPP who must weed her house of what he described as the bean weavils.

The late Katanga was murdered on November 2nd 2023 at Mbuya Chwa Two road, Nakawa Division Kampala Capital City. His widow Molly Kamukama  whom he had married in 1991 is currently on remand at Luzira Prison as the Prime Suspect in this case and singularly facing charges of Murder by shooting Katanga dead with a pistol.

Molly is yet to apply for bail.

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