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Investigator asks Court Martial to reject NUP supporters bail application

Suspects in the dock. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The investigator in the case in which 32 supporters of the National Unity Platform are accused of being in illegal possession of explosive devices has asked the General Court Martial in Makindye to deny them bail.

Investigator Elly Musinguzi (Lt) of the Special Investigations Bureau of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence has argued that the accused persons have a likelihood of interfering with state witnesses who are well known to them once released.

The group is accused of having been found in illegal possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices which are “ordinarily the monopoly of the defense forces”.

It is alleged that the crime was committed between November 2020 and May 2021 in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete and Kampala Central.

The group on Monday appeared before the court presided over by Brigadier Robert Freeman Mugabe for the prosecutors to make a reply to their bail application filed nine months ago.

The accused persons sought bail on grounds that the charges against them are bailable by the Court Martial and that they have substantial sureties who included their spouses, relatives and parents.

But when the matter came up today for a response, the prosecution led by Lt Gift Mubehamwe asked court to dismiss the bail application.

Mubehamwe relied on an affidavit sworn by Investigator Musinguzi who told Court that the applicants have the capacity to interfere with state witnesses as well as investigations.

Musinguzi  said that the applicants have no permanent places of residence within the jurisdiction of the court and therefore if released, there is a likelihood that they will abscond from trial.

He added that some of the applicants like Olivia Lutaaya were given bail some time back on offenses related to illegal possession of ammunition but she was returned to court a few moments after her release on these new charges.

The court has also heard that some applicants do not have substantial sureties because they did not present documents to identify them and that some of the sureties couldn’t ably identify the people they had come to stand for.

According to Musinguzi,  the trial in this case already started with testimony from the arresting officer Captain Alex Tyaba attached to the Crime Intelligence of Police and therefore bail should be denied and applicants accorded an expeditious hearing.

Court has also heard that one of the accused persons Muhydin Kakooza was already convicted of contempt of court and is still serving a sentence of eight months and therefore he shouldn’t be given bail.

In response, the lawyers representing the applicants led by George Musisi and Remmy Bagenda said that the investigator’s affidavit was full of speculation and hearsay because he was not in court when the bail application was being heard.

Musisi added that some of the issues Musinguzi was raising such as the substantiality of sureties are a matter that can only be determined by the court unless if he is privy to the pending decision.

Musisi further added that the investigator is objecting to the bail of Kakooza, a person who didn’t apply which indicates that he is not well versed with the facts of this case.

He thus asked court to reject the evidence contained in Musinguzi’s affidavit and go ahead and release his clients pending determination of the case.

The court has now fixed October 11th 2022 to decide on the application and the applicants have been further remanded to Luzira prison until then.

The Uganda Police Force accused the suspects of plotting to carry out petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings in various places in the country.

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on Kasubi Royal Tombs, on former Jinja Resident City Commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, on Uganda Registration Services Bureau and on Katwe police station among others.

As a result, they were arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence operatives and brought to Court Martial to face justice.

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