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Shot and left to rot

By Joan Akello

Man accuses Rubeleto of shooting him, Tycoon says DPP has found no case

Job Nyakana has a bullet hole in his chest. The same bullet pierced his right hand, shattering the upper arm bone.  Although Nyakana was shot a year ago and his physical wounds have not healed, he is more concerned about the mental pain the attack has caused him.  Nyakana is angry that his alleged attacker has neither compensated him nor been brought to justice.

Nyakana says the man who shot him is “untouchable” because he is rich, powerful, and influential. He says the man who shot him is Ronald Semakula a.k.aRubeleto of the Rubeleto Construction Concern Ltd.

But when The Independent contacted Rubeleto, he said the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) was in a better position to explain everything regarding this case.

Later he called back asking why The Independent is interested in the case.

“I did not shoot anybody. Those claiming so just want money from me. I have so many enemies who know my vehicles, and know I have money,” he said, “But I know how to fight. I have to defend and protect my name. I am innocent.”

According to Nyakana, on a Sunday morning, June 17, 2012, he was standing outside a popular discothèque in Kampala city when he saw a white Land Cruiser VX with personalised number plate: R1, arrive.

He says the car caught his attention because it was part of an entourage of another car and a set of bodaboda riders. Secondly, although he was standing at a distance, he saw that when the occupant of the white car got out, he was holding a pistol and caused excitement all round.

Suddenly, the man shot a bullet in the air. Then, as he was boarding his car, he fired off another bullet.

Unknown to Nyakana, the second bullet had hit him.

“It took a few seconds before I realised I was wounded,” Nyakana says, “By this time the people had gathered at the scene.”

Nyakana adds:  “It was only until Alex (owner of a stall with an umbrella where he was standing) told me to remove my leather jacket that I realised I could not use my right hand. It was paralysed.”

Nyakana says another person, one Richard Sam Ojara, was also shot in the incident. However, Nyakana says he did not see Ojara.

Helpless victim

Nyakana, who was 28 years old at the time, says he was an assistant security officer at Uganda Industrial Research Institute from 2010 till when he was shot last year. Before that, he says, he had worked in the Uganda Police Force from 2006 to 2010.

Today, he is a father of two young children, without a job, and in constant pain.

“The pain from these wounds is unbearable yet the cause of my plight is scot free, minting more money, and partying,” he says. Nyakana says he can no longer take care of his family and pay rent.

He says doctors instructed him to avoid “excesses”, including laughter and stress. They say they could trigger internal bleeding.

Nyakana is concerned that his case keeps being adjourned without any end in sight.

Nyakana was rushed to Mulago referral hospital after police from Jinja Road Police station arrived at the scene. He was admitted till June 26, 2012.

Doctors said no vital organ was hit but he got what is technically called a “penetrating gunshot wound.” They also told him that the bullet missed his heart and lungs by an inch. If those two had been hit, Nyakana would possibly have died within 5 and 25 minutes respectively.

A gunshot wound can be penetrating, perforating, or grazing. A penetrating gunshot wound is one in which the bullet remains in the body; it only has an entrance wound but no exit.

Such injuries are often the most lethal; as they indicate that the entirety of the bullet’s kinetic energy was transferred to the body. In Nyakana’s case, it was the upper right arm that suffered.

Rubeleto fights back

As Nyakana was lying in hospital, the suspect in the case, Rubeleto, was in police custody.

During this time, Nyakana says he got concerned when people he calls “strangers” started visiting his room at Mulago hospital. He says he was so scared he asked to be shifted to the general ward for security. He says he would also get phone calls from the strangers.

Rubeleto was presented at Nakawa Magistrate Court on June 22, 2012 and granted bail.

His sureties included the legal officer of Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (UEDCL) Isaac Mugenyi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) National Primary Teachers Association Henry Lubwama and the General Manager of Rubeleto Construction Company, Jovia MulindwaSerukonge.

The case was adjourned to July 23, 2012 for mention.

Four days after Rubeleto got bail, Nyakana was discharged from Mulago on June 26, 2012.

He says that same evening, the District Police Commander Mukono, Seiko AshraffChemonges, called him. Chemonges said he had arranged for Nyakana to meet Rubeleto’s representatives at Lugogo Cricket Oval.

When Nyakana arrived, he recognised one of the women there as one of the “strangers” who used to visit his room at Mulago. He says when she asked for his address, he refused to give it.

“She was among the strangers who would come to my ward at Mulago Intensive Care Unit, but she thought I did not know her”

Nyakana says the team did not meet his “expectations”.

So, he says, he told the woman that since his case was before court, he would exercise his rights to justice. But he is getting desperate as the case has failed to take off.

DPP withdraws case

When the Nakawa Chief Magistrate, Esta Nambayo, told him to return to court for the fifth time on September 29, 2012 and nothing happened, he lodged a complaint to the Resident State Attorney at Nakawa Magistrates court. He was told that court had written to the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) for his file (CRB 2458/12) in vain.

Nyakana says he went to the DPP offices on Workers House in Kampala and met the Principal State Attorney, William Byansi, who told him the file would be sent to court for the next hearing. He got the same story at court. But his file was not produced and the case was adjourned.

On April 10, Nyakana wrote a complaint to the DPP. Nyakana says Byansi had requested for the file from Nakawa.

Nyakana says when he went to him the second time, Byansi asked him whether he is a lawyer “to access the file”.

Nyakana says he was taken aback when, as he was leaving Workers House, Rubeleto called him.  He says Rubeleto told him: “I watch all your movements. You are wasting your time.”

Nyakana’s case has attracted the attention of top human rights lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi.

“The Principle State Attorney must handle every complaint,” Rwakafuzi says, “It is very unfair if he brushed aside the victim’s complaint.”

Jane OkuoKajuga, the Principal State Attorney also the DPP spokesperson, says Nyakana’s file was recalled by DPP for further investigations. She says after all evidence gathered from witnesses both at the scene and the two victims, and the ballistic expert’s report has been carefully perused, the case was withdrawn.

“We have withdrawn the case because the expert evidence does not support the case and there are major inconsistencies between the evidence of the witnesses and the victims,” Okuo says.

Rubeleto says he went to the DPP, which is a public office, to clear his name.

“It is very good if DPP has discontinued the case. I am innocent,” he said.

Rwakafuzi told The Independent that it is very hard to say that DPP has acted professionally because of some cases he has handled in the past included delays and wrong charges.

“He has charged some people with treason where the particulars do not bear treason elements, so I cannot defend him anymore,” Rwakafuzi says.

He has offered to take on Nyakana’s case at zero legal fees if he wants to seek damages. “He can file a civil suit for damages against the person who shot him.”

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