Wednesday April 23 2014

Somalia offences: Army officers plead for lenience


KAMPALA- Two UPDF officers who were charged with offences in connection with Somalia operations yesterday pleaded for lenience after they admitted committing the offences.

Maj Nassur Namara, a former operations commander in charge of training in the Uganda contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia and Maj Louis Bagenda, who was formerly in charge of transport, through their lawyers, pleaded guilty to the offences and asked court for mercy.

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.

Capt Nasser Drago, their lawyer describing the two convicts as honest officers who did not waste court’s resources and prayed for lenient punishments.

“I pray that court considers the time spent on remand and the long service without criminal record. They have accepted the blame. The convicts have vast knowledge and training which is needed in the army and seek to reform,” said Capt Drago.

Court heard that the Maj Bagenda improperly received $400 every two weeks, money which came from proceeds of contingent fuel that was sold.

But Capt Drago said the money was used to purchase a photocopier, printer and a laptop computer for official duty.

However, prosecution led by Capt Freddrick Kangwamu asked court for deterrent punishments against the officers to act as a lesson to those intending to commit similar crimes.

Charged separately, the officers of the regular forces await punishment by the court.
They appeared before the General Court Martial at Makindye chaired by Brig Moses Ddiba Ssentongo, who set April 24 for sentencing.

Earlier on, the court sentenced another officer, Lt Col Stephen Lubulwa to a caution over charges of failure to execute ones’ duties.

The former battle group commanding officer in Somalia pleaded guilty to the offences.s