Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The General Court Martial in Makindye has finally granted bail to former Commandant of the Special Investigations Unit of Police Nixon Agasirwe who has been on remand for more than four years on charges related to abducting and repatriation of Rwandan refugees.
The General Court Martial presided over by Lt General Andrew Gutti has granted bail to Agasirwe on grounds that his sureties are substantial and that he has been on remand for so long adding that he has a fixed place of abode within the jurisdiction of the Court.
His sureties included his brother Aloysius Muhangi, Retired Senior Commissioner of Police Laban Muhabwe and a Member of Parliament representing the elderly people of Western Uganda, Joram Ruranga Tibasiimwa.
As such, Gutti has asked them to execute a non-cash bond of sh50 million, not cash and Agasirwe also given a non-cash bail of sh30 million.
He has further been warned not to go beyond Wakiso and Kampala districts unless he gets permission from court Registrar Lt Col John Bizimana whom he will be reporting to twice a month every after 14 days on Wednesdays.
According to Gutti, Agasirwe will also deposit his passport with court to avoid unnecessary movements out of the country.
Last week, Agasirwe who is facing trial on two separate files on charges of failure to protect war materials, aiding and abetting kidnap and unlawful possession of firearms appeared before the Court presided over by Lt General Andrew Gutti where he applied for bail.
Through his lawyers led by Silas Kamanda Mutungi, Agasirwe asked to be released on grounds that the charges against him are bailable by the Court and that he has a fixed place of abode in the jurisdiction of the Court in Kiira Municipality in Wakiso District.
He added that he is suffering from severe hypertension and therefore he needs to get medical treatment outside Makindye Military Barracks where he is on remand.
However , the Army Prosecutors led by Lt Gift Mubehamwe asked court to adjourn the case to today to enable them to prepare a response to Agasirwe’s bail application.
When the matter came up for the Prosecutors to respond on Monday, Major Emmy Ekyaruhanga said he did not have any response and was leaving it up to court to decide on the application.
Ekyaruhanga however hastened to add that, should the Court be pleased to release Agasirwe on bail, stringent terms should be put on him.
It’s against this background that Agasirwe has been given bail.
Agasirwe was arrested on October 24th 2017 and appeared in court on February 13th 2018 for unlawful possession of ammunition. He was returned to the same court in August the same year and charged together with his former boss, General Edward Kale Kayihura, the former Inspector General of Police, and ten others.
His co-accused include Col. Ndahura Atwooki, Herbert Muhangi, Patrick Muramira and Jonas Ayebaza, Joel Aguma, James Magada, Benon Atwebembeire, Abel Tumukunde and Faisal Katende Amon Kwarisiima, are all Police officers. The other accused are Rwandan National, Rene Rutagungira and a Congolese, Pacifique Mugenga Bahati alias Ilunga Monga.
The group is accused of unlawful possession of tortoise grenades, which are ordinarily a monopoly of the Defense Forces. They reportedly committed the offense on October 24th, 2017 while at Najera, Kira Division in Wakiso District.
They were also accused of having aided and abetted the actions of subordinate police officers and kidnapped and illegally repatriated Rwandan exiles, refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda including Lt. Joel Mutabazi the former bodyguard of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Jackson Karemera alias Odinga and Sargent Innocent Kalisa.
The police officers were also accused of having failed to supervise and ensure accountability for the arms and ammunition issued to specialized units under the office of the IGP and ended up giving some to Abdullah Kitatta, the former Patron of Boda Boda 2010 who has since served been convicted and subsequently finished serving his sentence.
In 2018, Agasirwe applied to be released on bail but in the February of the same year, the military court denied him bail on grounds that his sureties were not substantial since they had not presented any letter from the IGP allowing them to stand surety for him.
Since then, he only appeared in Court as a witness in Kitatta’s trial in 2019 but had never returned to court specifically for his case and he has never been tried.
All his co-accused were released at the peak of the Uganda-Rwanda border closure tension, leaving him as the only suspect on the files.
His release today on bail now leaves no suspect in prison on the said charges.
Agasirwe has been released ‘coincidentally’ at the time when the Rwandan Government has today fully opened its land borders with Uganda following the closure way back in 2019.