Uganda: Top Spy Is Charged In Army Court
A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Major attached to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) has been charged with murder of a businessman in the General Court Martial, throwing police investigations on the same offence off balance.
Maj Nelson Kyatuka, Mr Moses Kirunda, a bailiff, and an unidentified police officer are being investigated by police over their alleged involvement in the killing of businessman Magidu Mugwanya at Nateete in Kampala, on July 14.
Mr Kirunda and an unidentified police officer are still on the run.
On Monday, Maj Kyatuka was charged with one count of murder and two counts of failure to protect war materials in the Makindye-based court martial, charges he denies. He was remanded to Makindye Military Police barracks until August 25.
Police have been investigating the same case without the knowledge that the CMI, where the suspect works, was carrying out parallel investigations.
The detectives had submitted the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions for perusal last month, but it has been gathering dust on the prosecutor’s shelf since.
A police source, who preferred anonymity because he is not permitted to talk to the press, said CMI taking the key suspect to the military court makes it hard for the DPP to try him in civilian court because it will be considered double jeopardy.
Double jeopardy is trying a person in two courts over the same offence. It is not allowed in legal systems.
The relatives of the deceased and the police sources said they have been shocked by the developments.
Mr Alex Bugingo, a brother of the deceased, wondered what CMI relied on to take the case to the military court when they did not have witnesses’ statements and firearm examination report.
“Even our mother doubted the motive of rushing the case to an army court without coordination with the police. We suspect it is a trick to let the suspects off the hook,” Mr Bugingo said.
Police sources too confirmed that they did not share the murder file with the military since it is still with the DPP for perusal.
When contacted for a comment, Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, the deputy Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, confirmed that the murder case file is with the DPP.
“We are waiting for the advice from the DPP,” Mr Owoyesigyire said yesterday.
Mr Owoyesigyire declined to comment about the developments in the military court, saying he had not been briefed about it yet.
Relatives of the deceased had earlier complained about what they described as poor investigations of the case.
Their complaints followed police’s failure to detain Maj Kyatuka, who continued working, and detectives had to visit him at his workplace to be able to record his statement.
The First Division Commander, Maj Gen Sam Kawagga, called the deceased’s family to calm them down and promised them that justice will be served.
Security sources familiar with the investigations said there was an attempt to recover a gun from the suspect for forensic analysis while he was still at his workstation, but the detectives have been kept waiting until the suspect was taken to a military court.
The source said the detectives wanted to analyse the gun to establish whether it matches with the cartridges found at the scene, but could not and they are worried that they will never have that opportunity.
The firearms in the hands of the military personnel haven’t yet been fingerprinted as is the case with those in the police and prison armoury.
Eyewitnesses say on the fateful day, Mugwanya had parked his car on the roadside when he saw a woman, crying and seeking help. The woman was being dragged by three men into a car at night. Mugwanya reportedly moved out of his car to help the woman, but one of the three men shot him in the chest, despite identifying himself and raising his hands up. He died on the spot and the suspects fled the scene.