Brig Ondoga cleared on all Somalia cases

Saturday May 9 2015

Capt Joy Atugonza (L) jubilates with Brig

Capt Joy Atugonza (L) jubilates with Brig Ondoga after she was separately acquitted of charges of failure to execute her duties. Photo by MICHAELKAKUMIRIZI  

By Juliet Kigongo

KAMPALA.

Former commander of the UPDF peace contingent in Somalia, Brig Michael Ondoga, has been set free on all the charges against him.

The General Court Martial sitting in Makindye, Kampala, yesterday acquitted him on the last 13 cases against him after the prosecutor, Maj Frederick Kangwamu, submitted that the State had lost interest in the trial.

Brig Odonga had been charged with 13 counts of spreading false propaganda against his junior during military operations in Somalia. He has been on trial since his arrest in 2013.

Maj Kangwamu said the prosecution had come for the hearing of the charges but received instructions from the State not to proceed with the cases.

Following Maj Kangwamu’s submission, the chairman of the military court, Maj Gen Levy Karuhanga, discharged Brig Ondoga accordingly.
However, he cautioned that the release did not mean acquittal and the charges may be reinstated in future if state wishes so.

This week, Brig Ondoga was acquitted of other charges of abuse of office and indiscipline during the peace operations in Somalia.

He had been charged with 31 various counts, some of which attract a death sentence on conviction.
However, the court maintained 13 charges of spreading false propaganda which were also discontinued yesterday.

Ondoga timeline
Oct 2013: Ondoga arrested
Nov 2, 2013: Charged and remanded
Nov 5, 2014: Denied bail
Feb 6, 2015: State pleads for more time to present witnesses
Jan 21, 2014: Denied bail again
Early March: Denied bail again
Feb 13, 2014: Trial flops over lack of quorum in court martial
Feb 14, 2014: Trial starts behind closed doors
Early May: Undergoes “minor” operation at Bombo Military Hospital
May 14, 2014: Trial resumes three days after being discharged from hospital
Feb 20, 2015: His lawyer asks court to dismiss charges against Ondoga, saying the State “bungled up” its case with “fabricated” testimonies.
Feb 25, 2015: Ruling deferred for lack of quorum in the court
May 6, 2015: Ondoga acquitted of failing to execute his duties but kept in custody on other charges.
May 8, 2015: Final charges dismissed and Ondoga released.
Compiled by Eriasa Sserunjogi Mukiibi

[email protected]

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