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Katanga murder suspects present sureties, bail hearing set for Feb 12

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Katanga murder suspects in court. PHOTO URN

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four of the five suspects implicated in the murder of businessman Henry Katanga, a case that occurred about three months ago, have presented their sureties before the High Court in an attempt to secure temporary freedom.

The suspects, including the deceased’s two daughters, Martha Nkwanzi and Patricia Kankwanzi, a shamba boy George Amanyire, and Medical Worker Charles Otai, appeared before the Criminal Division High Court Judge Isaac Muwata Monday.

Represented by lawyers MacDusman Kabega, John Jet Tumwebaze, and Elison Karuhanga, the accused persons presented their sureties, many of whom were close relatives engaged in various businesses. Sureties included prominent businessmen and women who vouched for the accused, seeking their release on bail.

Facing charges such as destroying evidence and being an accessory after the fact of murder, the accused filed their bail application about two weeks ago. Kakwanzi, the first applicant presented her husband Wilson Mwine Mukulu who deals in solar energy and her mother in law Zakye Merian Kyamanyanga, the owner of Shell Pump Fuel Station Opposite High Court, and her father-in-law Herbert Kamugisha who deals in real estate and farming as her sureties.

Just like her sister, Nkwazi, the second applicant also 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.

Charles Otai presented his wife Shamim Nakasujja, a 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.  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.

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During the court session, State Attorney Samalie Wakooli and State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya requested an adjournment, citing poor quality and unreadable documents that needed clearer copies for valid responses. This led to a heated exchange between the defense lawyers and the State Attorneys, with the defense arguing that this was the tenth time the prosecution was frustrating the bail application.

They accused them of acting in bad faith and attempting to keep the accused persons in jail. Despite the defense’s objections, the court granted the adjournment. The defense lawyers led by Jet Tumwebaze expressed shock at the request for an adjournment, emphasizing that the issues raised by the prosecution could be addressed during the hearing and did not require an adjournment. They accused the State Attorneys of causing unnecessary delays in the legal proceedings.

“This matter was again adjourned for a mention, the state attorney, same person, same breath, same English never raised any of the issues she is raising. Those are issues that can be raised during the hearing, they don’t require Adjournment. They would need leave to file another affidavit. This is clearly in bad faith, aimed at keeping the accused persons in jail,” said Tumwebaze.

The Prosecution, led by Assistant DPP Samalie Wakooli and State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya, clarified that the affidavit filed by Ann Kiiza was in opposition to the bail application pending the ruling of the application for criminal revision. They insisted on an adjournment to enable them to get a proper response, citing the serious nature of the matter. The court, after hearing the arguments from both sides, granted the adjournment, directing the Prosecution to file their response.

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The bail hearing is now scheduled for February 12, 2024, for mention before the court sets the ruling date. Meanwhile, Molly Katanga, the key suspect and wife of the deceased, is yet to apply for bail. Henry Katanga was allegedly shot twice with a pistol at their home on Chwa 2 Road in Mbuya-Nakawa on November 2, 2023.

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