Thursday May 15 2014

Somalia: Army court sets date for verdict

Maj Namara stands in the dock at the General

Maj Namara stands in the dock at the General Military Court Martial in Makindye, Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA.  


The military court has set May 19 to rule whether three former commanding officers of the Ugandan troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) should be allowed to plead afresh or not.

Charged separately over alleged offences in connection with theft of food and fuel, the senior army officers had earlier admitted to the offences.
However, on the day of sentencing, the soldiers through their lawyer Capt Nasser Drago told court they did not understand the charges against them and asked court to allow them plead afresh.

Capt Drago asked court to allow each of them to plead afresh to the charges citing rules of natural justice.

The soldiers, Maj Nassur Namara, a former operations commander in charge of training at the Uganda contingent, Lt Col Eugine Ssebugwawo (Battle Group Commander) and Maj Louis Bagenda yesterday appeared before the General Court Martial chaired by Brig Moses Ddiba Ssentongo and were further remanded pending court decision.

Maj Namara was charged with conduct prejudicial to good conduct and discipline while Maj Bagenda was charged with fraudulent offences, all contrary to the UPDF Act. Lt Col Ssebugwawo is facing a charge of alleged personal interest endangering operational efficiency.

Prosecution led by Capt Fredrick Kangwamu had asked court to dismiss the application arguing that the due process was completed and the accused had asked for lenience.

“The convicts had pleaded not guilty and we set the trial date. They decided to change plea and they accepted the brief facts read to them. If they wanted to change, there is a chance at appeal,” Capt. Kangwamu argued.

Earlier on, the army court sentenced another officer, Lt Col Stephen Lubulwa to a caution over charges of failure to execute ones’ duties.
The former group commander in Somalia pleaded guilty to the offences.