28-year-old woman jailed 18 months for stealing church car

Prison warders escort Shamim Batariro (in black jacket) from court after the first hearing of her case in August 2023. PHOTO/ROBERT MUHEREZA.

What you need to know:

  • Following a brief conversation between Batariro and the church representatives, the court heard from the prosecution led by Mr Raymond Mugisa that on the fateful day, Batariro stole the car valued at Shs17.7 million thus violating sections 254 and 265 of the Penal Code Act.

A 28-year-old woman who was arrested for stealing a car belonging to Church of Uganda’s diocese of Kigezi has been sentenced to 18 months in jail. 

Shamim Batariro, a businesswoman and resident of Ruhinja village in Wakiso District was on Tuesday found guilty of stealing a grey Suzuki vehicle bearing registration number UAT 478N at the burial ceremony of  businessman Apollo Nyegameha, alias Aponye in Muhanga town council, Rukiga District on July 12, 2023.

Kabale Chief Magistrate’s Court presided over by Mr Derrick Byamugisha heard that the said vehicle had transported members of the clergy from Kikungiri Archdeaconry of Church of Uganda to the burial ceremony before it was stolen. 
Batariro was intercepted driving the car in Rwampara District before she was arrested.

Before the Tuesday court proceedings started, Batariro sought permission from the chief magistrate to speak with the diocese representatives. When granted the opportunity, she apologized saying she was unaware the car had been stolen.
She said it had been given to her by a one Sula Sekasi from Kampala, who instructed her to drive it away.

She asked for lenience saying her health had deteriorated during the two months she had spent on remand.
However, both the archdeacon Rev. Can Enos Tweteise and the diocese secretary, Rev Canon Milton Nkurunungi clarified to Batariro that they lacked the authority to dismiss the case as it was under state jurisdiction, regardless of her admission of guilt.

Following a brief conversation between Batariro and the church representatives, the court heard from the prosecution led by Mr Raymond Mugisa that on the fateful day, Batariro stole the car valued at Shs17.7 million thus violating sections 254 and 265 of the Penal Code Act.
State prosecution added that at the time of her arrest, Batariro was in possession of nine car master keys, five sticks of marijuana, Shs480, 000 in cash, and two trays of eggs.

After hearing the case, the magistrate said Batariro would serve her sentence at Ndorwa government prison. 
Out of good will, the magistrate also ordered that the Shs480, 000 she was found with be returned to her to assist her during her sentence.