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Molly Katanga remanded to Luzira over husband’s murder

Molly Katanga, the late Henry Katanga’s widow, being wheeled into  Nakawa court. PHOTO VIA @NamakumbiJ

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court has charged Molly Katanga with the murder of  her husband businessman Henry Katanga.

Katanga was brought to Court amidst heavy security which included armed Counter Terrorism police armed with guns.  She was wheeled into the Courtroom by a female police constable. Her head and hands were bandaged while her face was partly covered by a mask.

Wearing a long purple tie and die African print with her head wrapped with bandage and arms, Molly Katanga who was being wheeled by a Police Officer was parked in a corridor amidst a fully parked room and charges of murdering her husband communicated to her.

The Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza heard that  55-year-old Molly Katanga on November 2nd, 2023 at Mbuya Chwa two road, Nakawa Division Kampala Capital City with malice aforethought murdered Henry Katanga by shooting him dead with a pistol.

Since the court has no jurisdiction to try her, the charges were only been communicated to her, and the Prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya informed the Court that the investigations were complete and asked to commit her to the High Court for trial.

Molly Katanga has been on wanted since early November 2023. The Prosecution alleges that she murdered her husband, Henry Katanga at their matrimonial home in Mbuya Kampala. On Monday, Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza issued an arrest warrant against Molly following a request by the prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya.

After reading the evidence the Court intends to use against her, Molly’s lawyers led by Peter Kabatsi asked the Court to issue an order to prisons such that that there is continued management of the accused persons in liaison with the cooperation of the doctors that have been attending to Her.

Kabatsi says that Katanga has had five consecutive injuries although she is progressively recovering, she still needs medical attention.

Kabatsi added that the home of the accused has since the incident not been accessible to the family and asked that since investigations are complete, they should be allowed to access it.

Mac Dusman Kabega who is also Molly Katanga’s lawyer added that the area has remained cordoned off even when the police were through with whatever they wanted to pick from the scene of the crime.

He said up to now, it remains a 24-hour cordon off. Kabega asked the Court to order the Police to vacate the premises.

The Prosecution on the other hand said as to whether an order should be issued to security regarding the affairs at the scene of the crime, Muwaganya said his honest view is that it is not a simple question that requires a yes or no.

He said it should be handled in a very appropriate manner adding that he is not aware of which security organ is in charge and he had not been briefed on if there is any security organ and why they are at the premises.

He asked for time to consult the Director of CID as to what exactly is at the scene of the crime. According to Muwaganya, the Directorate of Forensics is in Charge of the key to the matrimonial bedroom which is the scene of crime.

Muwaganya said, he had been instructed that there is no single policeman at home or a guard but he has been further instructed that the military remained guarding the home.

“And what I have been further instructed is that the military officials are guarding the home on account of the home owners. Your Honor this is very important and I pray we be on record , and there is no single police officer at the scene of crime,” said Muwaganya.

Muwaganya said the issue of the residence was complex for him. He prayed the matter be handled administratively adding that Kabega already wrote a letter to the Director CID as well as Kampala Associated Advocates. He noted that the Director already held a meeting with some of the defense lawyers and said the matter is being handled with all its security complexities.

He said if there is no remedy out of this, a substantive application should be made and the court shouldn’t issue an order to issues that are not clear.

Magistrate Kakooza has directed the prison officers to make sure that Molly Katanga’s doctors access her while in prison. He has also ruled that the family members shouldn’t be blocked by security from accessing their home and subsequently remanded Molly Katanga to Luzira Prison until such a time when the  High Court will be ready to try her.

Magistrate Kakooza directed the prison officers to make sure that Molly Katanga’s doctors access her while in prison.

He has also ruled that the family members shouldn’t be blocked by security from accessing their home and subsequently remanded Molly Katanga to Luzira Prison until such a time when the  High Court will be ready to try her.

Relatedly, on Wednesday morning, the High Court Criminal Division Judge Isaac Muwata fixed 29th 2024 to hear the bail application for Molly’s co-accused persons.

The bail hearing date has been fixed by  Justice Muwata after making a ruling in which the Director of Public Prosecutions successfully challenged the jurisdiction of Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court to entertain the plea-taking of  Molly’s co-accused persons. Molly, along with her daughters Patricia Kakwanza and Martha Nkwanzi, faces charges of murder and destroying evidence, respectively.

Additionally, Amanyire George (a shamba boy) and Charles Otai (a health worker) are accused of being accessories to murder. According to the Prosecution, Henry Katanga was allegedly shot dead by Molly on November 2nd, 2023.

The daughters, Nkwanzi and Kakwanzi, are accused of tampering with evidence, making it unidentifiable for judicial proceedings.

Amanyire and Otai allegedly assisted others involved in the crime.   Evidence presented to the court indicates that Molly and the deceased had four children, including the daughters involved in the trial. The deceased expressed concerns about his safety before his death, fearing he was being tracked by his wife. He had taken precautions such as changing phone passwords and acquiring a new private telephone line.

The Prosecution asserts that Molly and the deceased had dinner together on November 1st, 2023, but the next day, only Molly was found in their bedroom. A loud blast was heard, leading to the discovery of blood in the bedroom. Molly was seen standing in the doorway. Subsequently, Nkwanzi and Kakwanzi arrived, and the latter drove Molly to Bugolobi Medical Center.

“A5 not believing, A3’s response by calling the telephone number of the deceased to find out whether he was okay but instead Nkwanzi confronted him with the deceased’s phone in her hand and questioned A5 ‘s actions of calling the deceased’s phone as opposed to cleaning the blood as instructed,” reads a narration in the committal papers.

The documents further allege that all accused persons, except Amanyire, returned home, closed themselves in the master bedroom, and later allowed him inside. They instructed him to lift the deceased’s body onto a small mattress before Otai called the police to report a suicide case.

The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) plans to rely on postmortem reports, forensic analyses, phone printouts, and scene-of-crime reports as evidence in court.

The prosecution argues that Molly’s DNA was found on the trigger, and the cartridges matched the pistol recovered at the scene. The DPP contends that there is no valid defense for the accused persons, and they should be convicted as charged. Once found guilty of murder, the highest punishment for murder is also death.

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