Kampala City socialite Charles Olimi, known as Sipapa, and his wife Shamila Nakiyemba were formally charged in the High Court Wednesday with 13 counts of aggravated robbery and money laundering. Appearing before the Criminal Division High Court Judge Michael Elubu the couple pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Representing the Director of Public Prosecutions, three prosecutors – Senior State Attorney Timothy Amerit, Chief State Attorney Edward Muhumuza, and State Attorney Joy Kahayiyi – presented an opening statement in court, expressing their intention to introduce forensic evidence placing the couple at the scene of the crime.
Defended by Lawyers Henry Kunya and Susan Wakabala, the accused parties requested access to CCTV footage from both Sipapa’s residence and the complainant’s (a South Sudanese national) home, specifically about the events of August 29th, 2022, when the alleged crime occurred.
In response, the Prosecution proposed a joint analysis of the footage, a request granted by the court to be completed within seven days. The court appointed two assessors, namely Juliet Kasiidwa and Joseph Wasidi. Sipapa faces all 13 charges, while Nakiyemba faces five charges of aggravated robbery and three counts of money laundering.
The case has been adjourned to January 17th, 2024, for mention. Following this, Justice Elubu will schedule a hearing date after confirming the analysis of the footage. Sipapa and his wife will spend their second Christmas in prison, having been remanded until the next court date.
The allegations indicate that on August 29th, 2022, at Bunga Kawuku, Makindye Division in Kampala District, Sipapa, Nakiyemba, and others, who are still at large, robbed six South Sudanese nationals of various belongings and cash. Among the reported victims, Jacob Arok Mul was allegedly robbed of US$429,000 (1.6 billion Shillings), two mobile phones (an iPhone valued at US$3,200 and a Samsung), and a 75-inch TV valued at US$4,000.
Other victims, including Mary Ateng, allegedly lost valuable items such as an iPhone 12 Pro Max, a golden belt, a golden chain, gold rings, and other possessions, collectively valued at millions of shillings and US dollars. The prosecution further claims that Sipapa, Nakiyemba, and their accomplices also targeted individuals like Chol Ateng, Deng Arok, Abig Yar, and James Manyok, robbing them of electronics, cash, and other valuables, rendering some victims unconscious during the robberies.
Subsequent investigations led to the recovery of most stolen items at the couple’s residence in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District, including vehicles, spare parts, and other items linked to the reported robberies. Police forensic analysis allegedly connected Sipapa to an additional 12 robbery cases. Sipapa gained notoriety in Kampala for causing traffic disruptions while distributing money and engaging in skirmishes at the National Unity Platform (NUP) offices.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Ochola ordered Sipapa’s arrest and vehicle impoundment following an incident where he caused chaos and made threats. However, these directives were not executed until the reported robbery at Arok’s home.