KAMPALA – The High Court Judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga has July 1 sentenced to 7 people to 40 years in jail for murdering a businesswoman Betty Donah Katusabe in 2015 over Ugx9 million debt which was a balance on a car she had purchased.
“The convicts’ conduct and impunity were most despicable, they should not have taken law in hands. This action was premeditated with each of the convicts playing a part in the action. The deceased was repeatedly assaulted on her head and her abduction was as a result of fraud,” Justice Ssenoga ruled before sentencing the group.
The judge also noted that the convicts had sufficient time to reflect on their actions but it was all in vain and such offences negatively impacted on the victim’s family and community which was wrong.
“Court hopes to send a message to the public to refrain them from taking the law into their hands. The convicts are hereby sentenced to 40yrs on Count one of murder, Aggravated robbery- 20years, kidnap-30yrs which is to run concurrently and paying compensation of UGX100million to the deceased’s family,” the judge ruled.
On June 24, Justice Ssenoga found guilty Muhammad Ssebuwufu the pine car bond proprietor and seven other for the murder of Katusabe.
Other convicts are; Godfrey Kayizzi, Phillip Mirambi, Yoweri Kitayimbwa, Damaseni Ssetongo, Paul Tasingika and Shaban Odutu.
However, the court sentenced Steven Lwanga, a special hire driver to 7 yrs in jail on the offence of being an accessory after the commission of an offense.
During mitigation, the state prosecutor Mr Alex Michael Ojok had asked the court for a death sentence saying that the deceased was subjected to torture and humiliation the whole day before being transferred to Police and died on her way to the hospital.
However, in reply the convict’s lawyer Mr Evans Ocheng told court that the purpose of the sentence is to offer the convict an opportunity to reform and death sentence is not justifiable in the circumstances of the case.
In her brief judgment last week, Justice Ssenogo ruled that there was sufficient evidence adduced from 26 prosecution witnesses placing Sebuufu and 7 others at the scene of the crime at pine car motor bond along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.
The judge averred that the evidence left no doubt in her mind that Sebuufu and his co-suspects formed a common intention to kidnap Katushabe from her home at Bwebajja along Entebbe road and tortured her to death before robbing her of her mobile phone valued at Shs300, 000.
“If Sebuufu had no intention of murdering Katushabe, he would have used other means including filing a civil suit to recover the Shs9 million debt that the deceased owed him instead of using sticks and pangas to beat her,” the judge ruled.
Evidence from the 26 witnesses showed that the deceased after failing to pay the balance, Sebuufu hired a team of his security guards to pick her from her residence in Bwebajja along Entebbe road and directly drove to his office at pine car bond on Lumumba Avenue from where she was kicked and beaten thereby causing grievous wounds to her body which led to her death on October 21, 2015.
The judge explained that Sebuufu and the 6 co-convicts formed an intention to kidnap Katushabe and thereafter hired Lwanga’s car to Bwebajja, picked her (Katushabe) and drove her to Pine car bond where she met her death.
Sebuufu and the 7 convicts had been jointly indicted with the former Kampala CPS DPC Aaron Baguma for Katushabe’s murder but at the beginning of the trial, the DPP without giving any reason to court dropped charges against Baguma and continued with the trial of the rest.
Evidence from the 26 witnesses showed that the deceased after failing to pay the balance, Sebuufu hired a team of his security guards to pick her from her residence in Bwebajja along Entebbe road and directly drove to his office at pine car bond on Lumumba Avenue from where she was kicked and beaten thereby causing grievous wounds to her body which led to her death on the 21st/October 2015.