The High Court has convicted six men for the murder of two South Sudanese nationals, Mohammed Abdallah and Ibrahim Bakhit, the former Manager of Juba City Hotel in Arua Park in Kampala Central Division.
The convicts are Jacob Chothembo, a former employee of the private security firm Saracen, Innocent Gumisiriza, a driver; Deus Kanyomozi, Abdul Karim Kabano, and Daniel Namara, all businessmen and Nicholas Mugisha, a salesman.
Justice Stephen Mubiru found the accused guilty of murder, attempted murder, and aggravated robbery. He, however, acquitted Patrick Monday, who was also charged with the same crimes due to insufficient evidence.
The convicts are said to have used a pistol to kill the victims and rob them of Shillings 1,865,000 and US$3,400 (14.5 million shillings) on August 15, 2018, at Arua Park, Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala.
They also attempted to cause the death of one Robert Owachigiu on the same day. The Court heard that the idea of robbery was brought up by Mugisha, who was an employee at the hotel as a cleaner.
He told his co-convicts that the Manager normally kept a lot of money and gold in his hotel room. They later met at a Restaurant in Kisenyi and discussed how to execute the robbery and subsequent double murders. Kabano booked hotel rooms for them, and the convicts first stayed at the hotel for two days to do surveillance before executing the crime, which occurred at 4 am.
The Court was convinced by the Prosecution’s evidence that Nelson Oribitunga, a former security guard with Saracen Security, was the one with the killer pistol. He used it to force the manager to hand over the keys to the safe where money was kept, and they later killed him and his brother. The Court heard that the convicts were placed at the scene of the crime, and some of the exhibits, such as keys, were found in their possession after a search of their homes by the Police.
The Judge ruled that none of the convicts was a direct perpetrator but instead aided and abetted Nelson Oribitunga by providing information on what was to be stolen and advising him on how to execute the mission.
Accordingly, he said whoever does that under the Ugandan laws is liable to be convicted of a foreseeable offence. After the conviction, the Prosecution asked the Court to sentence the convicts to life imprisonment, while the relatives of the deceased persons asked Court to hand them the death penalty.
On their part, the convicts asked the Court to be lenient with them because they have children and families to look after. They also said they have never been convicted of any offence and have spent more than four years on remand. Justice Mubiru set May 16th, 2023, to deliver his sentence.
According to Police reports, Arua Park is one of the areas in the city centre that has several incidents of violent crimes because there are several traders who move with large sums of cash.
Criminals often target unsuspecting victims very early in the morning and late in the evening when buses have dropped passengers from Northern Uganda, DRC and South Sudan.
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