KAMPALA: There were emotions in the General Court Martial on Tuesday when an agent of Uganda Breweries Limited, Deus Herbert Muwayire, who was robbed of 135 million shillings and kidnapped, testified against five accused persons.
The accused persons are:
Private Isma Mutebi of the Reserve Force, businessman Festo Tumushabe of Bulenga village, Nsangi Subcounty in Wakiso District, Habib Lwasa of Kasubi Zone Three in Rubaga Division-Kampala, James Eyebu alias Afande Kerekere, a salesman and driver at Romis Wine Company in Bunamwaya, and Richard Karungi, a resident of Kavala Zone in Kampala.
They appeared before a seven-member panel of the General Court Martial chaired by Brigadier Robert Freeman Mugabe and are charged with aggravated robbery.
It is alleged that the group and others still at large on October 10th, 2018 robbed Muwayire of 135 million shillings, his motor vehicle, UAW 169 double cabin, a wrist watch and two Infinix mobile phones. It is also alleged that before or immediately after the said robbery, the accused persons were in possession of a deadly weapon, that is, a Star pistol, which is ordinarily a monopoly of the defense forces.
But they denied the charges and on Tuesday, the prosecutors led by Lt Gift Mubehamwe called the victim, Muwayire, as the first witness to testify.
On Independence Day of 2018, as a businessman who was supplying alcoholic drinks such as Guinness, Pilsner, Senator, Bell Lager among others, his salesmen were in the field supplying to their various customers…one of them, Hope Muwulya, brought for him the money, 135 million shillings, and he went to his home in Bwebajja along Entebbe Road and slept, waiting to take it for banking the following day when he left home early.
Barely 40 metres from his home, he found a car with registration number UAX 592H had blocked the road.
The court has heard that he stopped and people came out of that car and started dismantling his car glasses, claiming that they were from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and wanted him at Kajjansi Police Station on murder charges.
He added that he was badly beaten with batons by the people who were wearing military uniforms, flogged, handcuffed, and his upper body tied to the legs and was thrown under the car like luggage before being driven all the way from Bwebajja to Mityana High Way.
But as he was narrating this, Muwayire broke into tears and several people in court, including the officials, were seen with tears rolling down their cheeks and others covering their faces with masks so as not to be seen as having been emotionally touched by Muwayire ‘s story.
Muhayire further narrated that along the way, they stopped at a fuel station where they discussed whether to kill him using paraffin or petrol by pouring it in his ears or silencing him with a gun. He went on to say that he was saved by one of the accused, Mutebi, who allegedly told them not to kill him because it would be easy to track them down.
The court has heard that the accused persons then looked for a rope and undressed him, pushed his stockings into his mouth, tied him like baggage, took him and dumped him in a forest near Kankungube Police Station in Kassanda District.
Muwayire said he struggled to scream to be helped, but he couldn’t be heard due to his closed mouth. However, he was able to free himself and go and stop cars in the middle of the road to help and take him to a nearby police station where he borrowed a phone and communicated with his family.
He was later admitted to Mengo Hospital for two weeks and later taken to Nairobi and London because of the injuries he sustained in his back. Muwayire, who testified amidst tears, has been able to adduce this evidence of medical reports.
Brigadier Mugabe has adjourned the case to August 23rd, 2022 for a further hearing.
The accused persons who have been on remand at Kigo Prison since February 2020 have been further remanded until then.