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Suzan Magara Murder Trial Adjourned Over Lack of Funds :: Uganda Radionetwork

Suzan Magara Murder Trial Adjourned Over Lack of Funds

However , the only female accused person in this case Hajara has complained to court over a one Robert from the Welfare Department of Prisons who normally gives her a man to speak to on phone , a one Shakur Mugabi who claims that he is her husband whereas not.
Susan Magara Murder Suspects leaving Court

Audio 1

The High Court has adjourned for two months the case in which ten people are accused of murdering Susan Magara, a Cashier at Bwendeiro Diary. 

The accused are :  Patrick Kasaija alias Agaba alias Pato. Abas Buvumbo, Yusuf Lubega, Hussein Wasswa, Muzamiru Ssali, Hassan Kato Miiro, Hajara Nakandi, Abubaker Kyewolwa, Mahad Kasalita, and Ismail Bukenya.

It is alleged that the suspects kidnapped Magara on February 7, 2018, with the intent of extorting a ransom. However, on February 27, 2018, in Kigo, Wakiso district, they brutally murdered their victim.

On Thursday, the suspects, except Kasaija, appeared before the Criminal Division Judge Alex Mackay Ajiji  for the hearing of the case but the matter could not go on.

The Prosecution led by State Attorney Irene Nakimbugwe informed the court that they were not ready to proceed because the lawyers of the suspects were not present in court. 

She also said the  Prosecution  has not given the defense lawyers the documents they intend to rely on to prosecute the suspects.

In response, Justice Ajiji  said that it is a complicated case that may require a special session and that above all, they need to address funding. 

Ajiji said that court needs to allocate each of the accused persons a lawyer  who will be paid by the government. She added that the court may also need to hire five lawyers to ably defend the group and expeditiously dispose off the case.

However, according to the Judge , this calls for time adding that they met with the Permanent Secretary in the Judiciary over the matter and requested for funds whose amount he didn't specify.  

He asked the suspects to remain calm and be patient. Justice Ajiji also said that they may also need to increase the number of assessors to four. Two months ago, court appointed John Musana and Brenda Magomba as assessors. 

The suspects also asked the Court to direct the prosecution to share with them the documents they intend to use to prosecute them because they  previously asked for the same but they were not successful. 

During the session, one of the suspects only identified as Hajara complained to court about a one Robert from the Welfare Department of Prisons who normally gives her to speak to a man who claims to be the husband whereas not. 

According to Hajara, the man Shakur Mugabi asks her to accept the charges against her.

//Cue in:  "The welfare of ...

Cue out: ...complaint number two".//

She further asked the court to direct the prisons services to help her meet and talk with her co accused persons saying she believes they have answers to some questions she is normally asked .

Justice Ajiji told Hajara that there are guidelines the Prison normally follows and when someone is detained, they cannot have all the liberty to do everything.

Justice Ajiji adjourned that hearing to October  16th 2023 with hopes that by that time, they will have got the funds. 

The evidence before Court indicates that the group planned to target wealthy individuals and their family members and  Magara, tragically, was the first victim of this scheme. 

Prosecution evidence suggests that she was abducted in Lungujja while on her way home, and she was subsequently held captive for three weeks as the kidnappers negotiated a US$1 million ransom with her family. 

After receiving US$ 200,000 of the ransom money, (then 700 million Uganda shillings) , the prosecution alleges that the kidnappers murdered Magara and disposed of her body in Kitiko. 

Various exhibits, such as land titles and motor vehicles, which were purchased using ransom money, have been recovered by the police. The investigation into this case has allegedly revealed that Magara overheard conversations between Hajara Nakandi's visitors while being held captive. 

The suspects became aware of this and held a meeting at Usafi Mosque to decide Magara's fate. 

They feared that her release would lead to the identification and arrest of Nakandi and potentially expose the entire group which first chopped of some of Magara's fingers and a video clip of the chopping put on memory card with her fingers in a parcel delivered near a certain fuel station for her relatives  to watch prior to her death. 

Consequently, they allegedly decided to suffocate Magara with a polythene bag to prevent her from revealing their identities. 

The prime suspect, Kasaija, was previously charged separately for the kidnap of Joan Cora Alupo after extradition from South Africa and granted bail in July 2019.

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