Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Kampala Metropolitan Criminal Investigations Department –CID have preferred 10 more counts against music promoter Abby Musinguzi, the proprietor of Abitex Promotions over the stampede at Freedom City Mall.
Investigators led by Kampala Metropolitan Police Criminal Investigations Department boss Bob Kagura, say that the cases result from a collection of evidence collected from statements that were recorded by hospitalized party-goers who witnessed the events unfolding on the fateful day.
The team also found that two more people had died as a result of the injuries they sustained during the stampede bringing the number of fatalities to 11. The two were identified as Brian Musenero 16, who was a resident of Ndejje, Wakiso district and a three-year-old girl whose mother has been identified as Immaculate Nakanjako.
Earlier on, Musinguzi had been charged with nine counts of rash and negligence which resulted in the death of people. Police identified the first nine fatalities as Margaret Nakatumba, 29, Mary Namyalo, 14, Daniel Kibuuka, 14, Hadijja Nakakande, Viola Nakanwagi, 11-year-old Ibrahim Kizito, Hadijja Nakimati, and Shafiq Mwanje.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said detectives have interacted with and identified the hospitalized persons as Achreo Ssebaka, 18, from Makindye, Jalia Nabukera, 20, Christopher Muwonge, 18, Salba Namuwonge, 13 from Zana, Alpha Kamuntu, 20 from Bweyogerere, Felix Mwine from Bwaise and one Jimmy from Bunamwaya.
John Sebalamu, the Freedom City proprietor, told police in his statement that he has no case to answer for whatever happened on New Year’s Day night because he did everything as guided by police and handed over the full responsibility of the venue to Musinguzi. Sebalamu has denied closing the five other exit and entrance gates insisting that he opened all of them and gave the keys to Musinguzi and his team.
However, Sebalamu said that the fireworks which sparked off the stampede were procured by Freedom City management for the entire facility. He hastens to add that they had no arrangement with Abitex Promotions that he would ask merrymakers to go out and watch fireworks.
“I gave him full responsibility with very clear terms and conditions. In condition number five, we tasked the organizers to provide adequate security for the event and venue. We handed him all the keys after a meeting with security,” Sebalamu told detectives.
It has since been established that Musinguzi got police clearance on December 14 and the final security meeting was held on December 30, with the area District Police Commander. Sebalamu has presented a signed agreement with Abitex Promotions. Security and organizers allegedly agreed that the inner ring for gate collections would be managed by the organizers and that was why bouncers were deployed to help in checking entrance tickets.
Efforts to speak to Musinguzi’s lawyer Erias Lukwago were futile as calls were not picked up and text messages had not been responded to by press time. But Enanga said they have collected Closed Circuit Television –CCTV cameras showing that the venue had over 20,000 partygoers instead of the 15,000 capacity.
Francis Juuko, the night’s emcee who allegedly urged people to walk out to watch the fireworks display was arrested over the weekend from Mityana where he was allegedly hiding. Detectives are also faulting Abitex Promotions for allowing unaccompanied teenagers to attend the concert.