As lawyers and family members fight to ensure Abdullah Kitatta, the chairman of Boda boda 2010 and 12 others are arraigned before a civilian court after being held beyond mandatory 48 hours, they have been shocked to learn that the group already appeared before court, secretly.
The group accused of murdering a case hospital accountant Francis Ekalugar appeared before the Unit Disciplinary court sitting at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence in Mbuya on January 21st 2018.
Kittata’s co accused are; Sowali Ngobi, Amon Twinomujuni, Joel Kibirige, Matia Ssenfuka, Hassan Ssebata, John Kayondo, Hassan Ssengooba, Sunday Ssemogerere, John Ssebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika and Ibrahim Ssekajja.
According to a statement released by Deputy defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Deo Akiiki, five charges were preferred against them including; failure to protect war material contrary to section 122 (1) and (2) (h) and (I) of the UPDF act, 2005. The other is possession of Military stores contrary to section 161 of the UPDF act.
Lt. Cl. Akiiki, says the suspects will continue appearing before the unit Disciplinary Court until they are committed to the Court martial since they are charged with capital offenses.
"The criminal procedure requires that a court without jurisdiction can only read the charges preffered and remand the accused and that he/she is not allowed to take plea," Akiiki said in a statement released this evening. Section 119 of the UPDF Act provides that every person found in unlawful possession of arms, ammunition or equipment ordinarily being the monopoly of the defense forces become subject to military law.
The failure to protect war materials attract a maximum sentence of death while that of being in possession of military stores attracts a life sentence. The Unit Disciplinary court didn't allow the suspects to take plea since it lacks jurisdiction to handle offenses of capital nature.
The 13 suspects were remanded to Kigo Prison and expected to reappear before the same Unit Disciplinary court for the mention of their case on 9th February 2018.
Trouble for the accused started after they were picked up for different locations in Kampala for their alleged involved in the killing of Francis Ekalugar, the former accountant of Case Clinic. Ekalugar was killed on January 2nd, 2018 outside the Ministry of health headquarters as he drove to DFCU bank in Wandegeya to deposit Shillings 15million.
His body was found burnt beyond recognition in Kajansi in Wakiso District leading to investigations that led to the accused.