WHY COURT REJECTED TYCOON KASIWUKIRA KILLERS APPEAL
By Mulengera Reporters
The conviction of Sandra Nakungu and Ashraf Jaden and their 22-year sentence for the murder of businessman Eriya Bugembe Sebunya, alias Kasiwukira, have been upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Nakungu, a cousin to Kasiwukira’s widow Sara Nabikolo, and Jaden, a former police officer, had run to the Court of Appeal to challenge their 2016 High Court conviction and sentence. Kasiwukira was killed by a runaway car on the morning of October 17, 2014 while jogging near his residence in Muyenga, a Kampala suburb.
Six years after Kasiwukira breathed his last, the convicts’ hope for acquittal have been shattered after three justices of the Court of Appeal okayed High Court judge Wilson Masalu Musene’s ruling on the matter.
The bench, comprising Justices Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi, ruled that Musene had done proper evaluation of the evidence adduced in court, adding that the appellants had been inconsistent. Even one prosecution witness’ inconsistence on the model of the car that knocked Kasiwukira was considered “minor”.
“We find no merit in the appellants’ argument on inconsistencies and we hold that they were minor in that they did not go to the root of the case, and so the learned trial judge was justified in ignoring them,” read the justices’ ruling in part.
The justices further argued that the evidence pinning Nakungu and Jaden had been supported by that of other two witnesses “who were approached by the appellants [Jaden and Nakungu], to kill the deceased.”
Jaden had complained that Musene had not given him a chance to present his two witnesses. But the justices upheld the prosecution’s argument that the law prohibits an accused person from bringing a new witness if s/he was not indicated during the committal period.
“In our view, we find the above provision mandatory in nature. It is therefore clear that an accused person shall not be allowed to call witnesses for which he or she did not mention during committal proceedings in the magistrate’s court,” the justices ruled.
“However, the first appellant had the right to present his defence as granted under Article 28(3) (c) of the Constitution which provides right to a fair hearing. The burden of proof does not shift to him, therefore he needed not to call witnesses to prove his alibi.”