High court judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga has found Muhammad Ssebuwufu, the proprietor of Pine car bond and his co-accused guilty of murdering city businesswoman, Betty Donah Katusabe.
The other convicts are Godfrey Kayiza, Phillip Mirambe, Stephen Lwanga, Paul Tasingika, Yoweri Kitayimba, Shaban Otuddu and Damaseni Ssentongo, all employees of Pine car bond. Justice Ssenoga also found Ssebuwufu’s co-accused guilty of kidnap and aggravated robbery.
She however, convicted Steven Lwanga for being accessory to murder simply because prosecution failed to place him at the scene of crime. Court found him guilty of driving the vehicle where Katusabe's body was put after being tortured to death.
In her judgment delivered this morning, justice Ssenoga explained that the 26 prosecution witnesses adduced overwhelming evidence showing that Ssebuwufu and his accomplices picked the deceased from her home in Entebbe with intentions of murdering her.
They reportedly deceived Katusabe that they wanted to settle the issue of the money she owed Ssebuwufu as balance for buying a car from his bond. The judge contends that the convicts should have filed a civil suit against the deceased if they didn’t harbour any intention of killing her.
She says the deceased was kidnapped with intention of executing the unlawful purpose. The lady justice also noted that prosecution had proved to court all the ingredients of murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery. She rejected the submission of the defense claiming that the convicts hadn’t been at the scene of crime.
The convicts had argued during trial that some of them were playing football on the fateful day Katusabe met her death. Ssebuwufu had told court that he was attending to other court matters in Mengo during the incident, a claim court rejected.
Justice Ssenoga has remanded the group to Luzira prisons until July 1 when they will be sentenced. She also promised to deliver a detailed judgment into the matter on the same day. The convicts' lawyers led by Evans Ochieng declined to present mitigating factors to court, saying they will do so after looking at the detailed judgment.
Ssebuwufu, who was out on bail, was handcuffed shortly after the judgment and led to the court cells awaiting transportation to Luzira prison. Katusabe’s relatives who had packed court to capacity were heard jubilating, saying they will slaughter goats for assistant director of public prosecution Winifred Ahimbisibwe and Michael Ejok Lawrence for having secured the conviction in the case of their loved one.
The relatives wore black t-shirts with a photo of Katusabe in front with inscriptions "no one will spill your blood and get away with it."
Trouble for the convicts started when they kidnapped Katusabe from her home in Bwebajja along Entebbe road, drove her to Pine car bond along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala where they used sharp objects to torture her to death.
Katusabe had reportedly failed to pay Shs 9 million for a vehicle she bought from Ssebuwufu's bond valued at Shs 17 million. The convicts also robbed Katusabe of her sim cards and the mobile phone worth Shs 300,000.
The convicts had earlier been charged with Aaron Baguma, the former commander Central Police Station, Kampala. His charges were later dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) without clear reasons.