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Court to Decide Whether to Try Kaweesi Murder Suspect in Absentia :: Uganda Radionetwork

Court to Decide Whether to Try Kaweesi Murder Suspect in Absentia

In May 2023, the court issued an arrest warrant for Kasujja, who has eluded police to date. On Tuesday, the Prosecution asked the court to proceed with the matter in the absence of Kasujja.
One of the Kaweesi murder suspect Shafiq Kasujja responding to a court roll call on Tuesday.
The International Crimes Division of the High Court has fixed July 17th, 2023 to decide whether to proceed with the trial of eight suspects implicated in the murder of former Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi in the absence of one of the suspects, Shafique Kasujja. 

Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha fixed the date on Tuesday when the matter came up for mention to see if the parties had filed their written submissions. Kaweesi was gunned down together with his bodyguard Kenneth Erau and driver Godfrey Mambewa on March 17th, 2017 in Kulambiro in Nakawa division in Kampala. 

Police picked up eight suspects in connection with the assassination and charged them with murder aggravated robbery, terrorism, aiding and abetting terrorism, and belonging to the Allied Democratic Forces ADF, a designated terror group. The other suspects are Abdulrashid Mbaziira, Hamza Higenyi, Shafiq Kasujja, Yusuf Mugerwa, Bruhan Balyejjusa, Joshua Kyambadde, Jibril Kalyango, and Yusuf Nyanzi. 

Although his co-accused were all present in the court on Tuesday, Kasujja who is out on bail didn't show up. As a result, the Prosecution led by Birivumbuka told the court that Kasujja has absconded from the trial since he was granted bail about four years ago. In May 2023, the court issued an arrest warrant for Kasujja, who has eluded police to date. On Tuesday, the Prosecution asked the court to proceed with the matter in the absence of Kasujja.

Bivumbuka explained that when the court issued a criminal summons against Kasujja on May 2nd, 2023, they delivered it to Detective AIP Benard Kimutwa who proceeded to effect service. He explained that Kimutwa proceeded to Kasujja's place of abode in Kitintale but the LC I chairperson whose names were witheld because of his own safety informed him that the accused person disappeared from the village together with his family members.

Birivumbuka added that Kimutwa also found the house where Kasujja used to stay abandoned under lock and key. The Court also heard that the LC I chairperson told the detective that Kasujja's relative Ziwa Muzamiru reported his disappearance to Kitintale Police Station. Kimutwa proceeded to Kitintale Police and indeed found that a case of disappearance had been reported under reference number 42/21/22/12/2021.

According to Birivumbuka, although the court issued a criminal summons to Kasujja 's sureties requiring them to appear and explain his whereabouts, Detective AIP Kimutwa got into an accident on his way to Lwengo District to serve them. Birivumbuka told the court that they have searched for Kasujja at every police station in vain. 

He revealed that they have since recieved information that he has reunited with the rebel Allied Democratic Forces-ADF in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. On his part, the Defense lawyer Geoffrey Turyamusiima, who also represents Kasujja said in the interest of Justice and a right to a fair hearing, he had no objection to the issuance of an arrest warrant against his client.

He explained that the remaining suspects still on remand want the cases heard and determined expeditiously, saying it is against this background that the court issued an arrest warrant against him in May 2023. Now the court will next week decide whether to proceed with the remaining suspects without Kassujja. Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha further remanded the three suspects who were on other cases. One of the suspects in this case Nyanzi appears on three files containing capital offenses and high-profile murders. 

He was first arrested in early 2017, on charges of killing the former Police Spokesperson Kaweesi, his bodyguard and driver. He was later charged with the murder of Major Muhammad Kiggundu and his bodyguard Sergent Steven Mukasa on November 26th, 2016 in Masanafu, a Kampala city suburb. 

Barely a year after his release by Lady Justice Lydia Mugambe on bail, security rearrested Nyanzi from his home in Kisaasi Kyanja in connection with the attempted murder of Works and Transport Minister, General Edward Katumba Wamala and the murder of his daughter Brenda Nantongo Wamala and driver, Haruna Kayondo on June 1st, 2021.

He remains on remand to date on the 2021 charges. Also, Aramazan Noordin Higenyi alias Taata Abdallazack and Abdurashid Mbaziira alias Buyondo Muhammed were given bail on the Kaweesi murder file but remain on remand to date but on s separate file involving child trafficking charges, which is pending before the Mukono Court.

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