The Army court has sentenced a 44-year-old man to nine years and eight months in jail over illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
Rasul Akasa alias Ndale, a resident of Ogujabe village, Apo sub-county in Yumbe district was charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition contrary to section 3(1) (2)(a) and (b) of the UPDF Firearms Act 2005.
He appeared before the Fourth Infantry Division Court Martial chairperson Col George Nambafu last Thursday when he was convicted on his own plea of guilty. The convict confessed to court that he was lured by his co-accused identified as Asio Kandege about a deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that needed guns.
Akasa noted that he linked up with a friend identified only as Okello who is a soldier in Yumbe district and bought a gun at Shs 800,000 for the deal in the DRC. The gun loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition, which has since been recovered and is in the hands of the police is a sub machine gun (SMG) with registration UPDF 48-013610.
Akasa also testified in a separate case to the court about how he obtained another gun, an AK-47 assault rifle with 309 rounds of ammunition from a sleeping soldier in Koboko barracks under the 59th battalion.
Akasa told the court that he sneaked into the barracks on one rainy night around June this year while the night guards were asleep and stole a gun from one of the soldiers who had left the door to his house open. The gun, whose registration number hasn’t been identified and recovered belonged to Lt James Nyero of the 59th Battalion.
Akasa noted that the stolen gun was later handed to his co-accused Asio Kandege. The convict was however arrested on July 19 this year after being tracked by security and has since been on remand. Lilian Biira, the state prosecutor told court that the convict was a serious felon and prayed to the court to hand him a maximum sentence to keep him out of the society.
“The convict collaborates with soldiers by buying them alcohol and bribing them with money to get guns. We, therefore, request this honourable court that the convict be given a maximum sentence because if it's not done, he is going to continue using the same tricks to get military items,” says Biira.
The convict however asked the court for leniency arguing that he is remorseful for his conduct and won't repeat the crime ever again. He noted that he is an asthmatic patient and is the sole breadwinner for his family of eight children and wife while also taking responsibility for his late brother’s children.
Col Namabafu in his ruling says the act of planning and raising money for the purchase of a gun is such an act that is criminal and with a criminal intent adding that the convict deserves a maximum sentence. He handed the convict a jail sentence of nine years and eight months in jail at Gulu Main Prison and deducted two from the ten year sentence for the time he had spent on remand.
The convict is also battling other cases related to murder and aggravated robbery contrary to section 285/286 subsection 2 of the Penal Code act.