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Katanga murder: Trial starts to peel the layers off Katanga’s death puzzle 

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A court session in the murder case of Henry Katanga underway at High Court in Kampala on July 9, 2024. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

The proper hearing of the murder case in which Molly Katanga, the key suspect in the murder of her husband and businessman Henry Katanga kicked off on July 9 before the High Court in Kampala with two prosecution witnesses taking to the witness dock. 

One of the witnesses, a liaison police officer who was the first from the Force to arrive at the home of the Katangas on the fateful day of November 2, last year told court that one of the daughters, Patricia Kakwanza, called him saying they had an incident at their Mbuya home of a suicide by shooting and that he rushed there.

At about 10am, presiding judge Isaac Muwata entered the fully packed court hall. He started by reading out a preliminary ruling where he declined to allow an application to have lead prosecutor Ms Samali Wakooli recuse herself from the case. After reading the ruling, Justice Muwata embarked on a proper hearing. Below are the excerpts:

Judge:Are you ready to proceed? 

Prosecutor Walooli: Yes, my lord

Bruce Musinguzi: One housekeeping issue, one of the accused only speaks Lutooro.

Judge: Yes. Yes. 

The court takes a 10-minute break to secure a Lutooro interpreter since one of the suspects, George Amanyire prefers to have the proceedings interpreted for him in Lutooro.  At 11:13 am, the court was reconvened after getting a Lutooro interpreter.

Judge: What is your religion?

First prosecution witness: I’m a Catholic, my lord.

He takes oath

Witness: I’m Dr Julius Muhwezi.

Prosecution: For the record, I’m Anna Kiiza for the State. Could you restate your particulars to the court?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, my name is Superintendent of Police Dr Muhwezi Julius, 44 years.

Prosecutor Kiiza: Where are you stationed? 

Dr Muhwezi: I’m stationed at the Directorate of Police Health Services.

Prosecutor Kiiza: Where is that?

Dr Muhwezi: In Nsambya.

Prosecutor Kiiza: What do you do at Nsambya?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, as a medical doctor, we offer medical care to suspects in our detention centres, we also treat police officers and their families, and we also treat civilian communities.

Prosecutor Kiiza: What are your qualifications as a medical doctor?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I hold a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Makerere University. 

Prosecutor Kiiza: When did you qualify?

Dr Muhwezi: 2020

Prosecutor Kiiza: How long have you been at Nsambya?

Dr Muhwezi: Three years, my lord

Prosecutor Kiiza: You said you are a medical doctor and you treat suspects brought to you, how do you get to treat these suspects?

Dr Muhwezi: When they need our care, we are informed by investigating officers. 

Prosecutor Kiiza: Apart from treating suspects, what else do you do? 

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, we are also requested to examine suspects on police form 24.

Prosecutor Kizza: When you get this request under police form 24, what do you do?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, when I’m requested to examine a suspect, I will proceed to the detention centre where the suspect is kept, and on arrival, I liaise with the investigating officer, we organise for a private room where examination of the suspect takes place.

The suspects are then brought into this private room. I introduce myself fully to the suspect and inform them of what I’m going to do on police form 24. I then proceed to do the physical examination of suspects and also do a mental assessment after which I give my findings in the form, print my particulars, sign, and stamp.

Prosecutor Kiiza: If such a form is shown to you, would you be in a position to identify it?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord

Prosecutor Kiiza: How would you identify it?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I know my handwriting, my signature, and I can identify the facility stamp that I put on that form.

Prosecutor Kiiza: I want you to look at this document and identify it to the court

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, this is the form I was offered.

Prosecutor Kiiza: What document are you holding in your hands?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I’m holding police form 24, concerning the nomination of a suspect known as Amanyire George, who was a 30-year-old male adult.

My lord, on November 12, 2023, I examined Amanyire George, who was 30 years old and my findings are that he did not have any fresh or recent external physical injuries seen on his body. My lord the suspect also appeared to be in normal mental status.  That is all my lord.

Prosecutor Kiiza: After making your findings what did you do?.

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I signed the form, stamped it with a facility stamp, and returned the form to the investigating officer.

Prosecutor Kiiza: My lord I pray to tender in this police form 24 as prosecution exhibit in respect of Amanyire George.

Judge: Any objection to tender in the police form?

Peter Kabatsi (one of Ms Molly Katanga’s defence lawyers): No objection, my lord.

Judge: Police form 24 of George Amanyire is received as P1.

Prosecutor Kiiza: Can you identify the second document?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, it’s a police form 24 with respect to a medical examination of Mr Otai Charles who was a 31 years, 31-year-old male adult. 

Prosecutor Kiiza: What were your findings?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, again on November 12, 2023 when I did the examination my findings are that no fresh or recent physical injuries were seen on his body. My lord, Mr Otai Charles appeared to be in a normal mental state. Those are my findings, my lord.

Prosecutor Kiiza: Did you sign it?

Dr Muhwezi: After my findings, I signed the form, stamped it with a facility stamp, and returned the form to the investigating officer.

Prosecutor Kiiza: My lord I pray to tender in the police form 24 in respect to Otai Charles and the prosecution exhibit

Judge: Signals to defence lawyers on whether they are ok with the same police form being tendered in.

Defence lawyer Kabatsi: No objection my lord.

Judge: Police form 24 in regard to Charles Otai is received. 

Prosecutor Kiiza: That is all my lord for this witness.

Mr Elison Karuhanga (another of Molly Katanga’s defence lawyers): Dr Muhwezi, just a very brief cross-examination, you can confirm that there is nowhere on police form 24 where the suspect signed.

Dr Muhwezi: The suspect did not sign on that police form 24.

Karuhanga: So apart from your work, you don’t have any corroborating evidence that you examined them?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, the suspect did not sign that form, yes.

Karuhanga: So we should take your word?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, he didn’t sign.

Karuhanga: When you look at P1 on the police form in respect to George Amanyire, look at the front part of the police form 24, there is what they call part A, can you confirm that it was a superficial examination by a police officer?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: You can confirm that the date of the examination was November 6 at 9 am, which is 6 days before the examination. 

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: Police form 24 is filled in three parts, correct?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord

Karuhanga: The first part is for the police officer in-charge of the police station.

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: Can you confirm that there is no date?

Dr Muhwezi: Its November, 6, 2023.

Karuhanga: Is it fair to say you were invited on November 6? 

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I was invited on November 12,  2023. 

Karuhanga: Can you also confirm the date and time of arrest in respect of George Amanyire as November 2?

Dr Muhwezi:  Yes, my lord

Karuhanga: So the suspect had been in illegal detention for eight days in respect to George Amanyire?

Dr Muhwezi: I don’t know how I can respond to this question my lord but I can confirm that I examined him on November 12.

Karuhanga: So he had been in police detention for more than 48 hours? 

Dr Muhwezi: I don’t know my lord.

Karuhanga: If a suspect is arrested and released, would it be reflected on this form?

Dr Muhwezi: I don’t know.

Karuhanga: As a trained police officer, suspects should not be held for more than 48 hours 

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord

Karuhanga: Do you also examine people who are illegally detained?

Judge: Chips in and asks the witness to just answer the questions put to him.

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: The medical examination form is signed by someone in charge of the police station 

Dr Muhwezi: I can see that it’s stamped by OC Jinja Road Police Station.

Karuhanga: You can confirm that you are not an OC station.

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord. I can confirm that I’m not an OC.

Karuhanga: Do you know the person who signed?

Dr Muhwezi: I know the person, my lord.

Karuhanga: would I be right to say that person is Detective Sergeant David Tweitese

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: You have just confirmed that the invitation to conduct the examination was on the 6th, you only got it on the 12th

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: You were invited on the 12th?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes my lord

Karuhanga: To come and help him?

Dr Muhwezi: No, to examine the suspects.

Karuhanga: You testified that a private room is prepared for you to carry out the examination, correct? 

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: Dr Muhwezi, confirm your tribe

Dr Muhwezi: Mukiga

Karuhanga: Did you conduct the examination in Rukiga?

Dr Muhwezi: No, in Luganda.

Karuhanga: Can you confirm to this court that he is a Mutooro?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, he is.

Karuhanga: You can confirm it’s signed by the Detective Superintendent of Police, Akdongo Bibiyana.

Dr Muhwezi: That is correct.

Karuhanga: So this form is signed by Bibiyana, Beitaise you cannot testify on the parts they carried out.

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, I can only own part B of the form.

Karuhanga: Doctor, it’s your evidence that you examined Otai on November, 12, 2023, correct?

Dr Muhwezi: That is correct, my lord.

Karuhanga: Just look at your signature on the stamp, can you confirm you stamped twice, on the 12th and 13th of November 

Dr Muhwezi: It’s confirmed, my lord.

Karuhanga: Can you confirm that you signed on November 13, your signature appears there.

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, where I signed, it was on November 12 but I see it’s adulterated.

Karuhanga: So the form is adulterated.

Judge: Why do you say it was adulterated? 

Dr Muhwezi: Because where I signed was changed. 

Karuhanga: Can you confirm that is your stamp?

Dr Muhwezi: What appears like the 13th is not mine.

Karuhanga: The stamp that appears like the 13th is not yours

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga:  You can also confirm that it’s the adulterated stamp where your signature appears.

Dr Muhwezi:  It appears to be adulterated, number 13, appears to be adulterated but the signature is mine.

Karuhanga: You didn’t sign the first half.

Dr Muhwezi: Yes

Karuhanga: You have two stamps on this form. I want to suggest that you didn’t examine these people.

Dr Muhwezi: My lord I took an oath, I examined these people.

Judge: No. No, forget about the oath, did you examine these people?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Karuhanga: Did he tell you he had asthma?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes

Karuhanga: Did you treat him?

Dr Muhwezi: He said he had an inhaler and that it was helping him.

Karuhanga: So a person has asthma but to you, he appears to be in a good mental status.

Dr Muhwezi: He appeared so.

Dr Karuhanga: The issues of bruises and scratches are all done by superficial examination. 

Dr Muhwezi: This is true, my lord.

Karuhanga: So what did you mean no physical injuries seen?

Dr Muhwezi: I meant the entire body.

Karuhanga: So they take off their shirts?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord. 

Karuhanga: My lord, we want to give him a form to confirm. Did one Nayebare Denisse remove her shirt?

Dr Muhwezi: My lord, examination involves undressing, so she undressed.

Karuhanga: So women in police detention are examined naked by you?

Dr Muhwezi: We do so in the presence of a female nurse.

Karuhanga: Is it true that all these examinations were done at 9pm?

Dr Muhwezi: That is not true, my lord

Karuhanga: What time was it?

Dr Muhwezi: I can confirm if it was in the late afternoon 

Karuhanga: Is that indicated on the police form?

Dr Muhwezi: No

MacDosman Kabega (Another defence lawyer): It’s your evidence that both police forms and some parts are not yours?

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord

Kabega: Since part B is the only part you worked on, would I be right to suggest to the court that part A should be expunged?

Dr Muhwezi: I don’t know

Kabega: Then tell the court 

Kabega: What I’m telling you is you can only exhibit the part that is yours

Dr Muhwezi: That is okay, my lord.

Kabega: Did you indicate anywhere in the form that you were with a female nurse?

Dr Muhwezi: No

Kabega: Does it indicate what she was suffering from?

Dr Muhwezi:  No.

Judge: This is your matter, no re-examination.

Prosecutor Kiiza:  Confirm to court that you medically examined the suspects

Dr Muhwezi:I can confirm that I medically examined the accused persons.

Kabega: it’s not all the suspects.

Prosecutor Kiiza: It’s the two, Amanyire and Otai.

Dr Muhwezi: Yes, my lord.

Prosecutor Kiiza: Clarify to the court that your findings were on  November 12, 2023.

Dr Muhwezi: I can reconfirm that I examined these suspects on November 12, 2023.

After a lunch break, the second prosecution witness Assistant Inspector of Police Samuel Musede took oath and narrated to the court what happened on that fateful day as the first police officer to arrive at the scene of the crime, the home of the late businessman Henry Katanga.

Prosecutor Samali Wakooli: Please tell us your religion.

ASP Samuel Musede: I’m a Protestant

Prosecutor Wakooli: Please tell the court your names again.

Witness: I’m Assistant Inspector of Police Musede Samuel.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What do you do?

Witness: I’m a police officer attached to the Jinja Road Police Division but I am currently attached to Bugolobi [offices] as the in charge of community policing.

Prosecutor Wakooli: How old are you?

Witness: I’m 56 years

Prosecutor Wakooli: What are your roles?

Witness: My major role is to bridge the gap between the community and the police, I do meet with the community and have meetings with the intention of reducing crime.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Do you know accused number one (Ms Molly Katanga)?

Witness: No

Prosecutor Wakooli: Do you know accused number two?

Witness: I know her.

Prosecutor Wakooli: How did you get to know her?

Witness: I know Patricia in my day-to-day duties because she was in a security group, (Security Plus), one time I was invited to go and talk to the guards, and that is how I came to know her.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Accused three?

Witness: I know Martha (Nkwanzi),

Prosecutor Wakooli: how did you get to know her?

Witness: I knew Marth because of Patricia

Prosecutor Wakooli: And accused four, Mr Otai?

Witness: Otai, I know him, I was introduced to him by Patricia.

Prosecutor Wakooli: And lastly accused five, do you know him?

Witness:  I know Amanyire, I met him in the home of Patricia.

Prosecutor Wakooli: I will take you to the events of November 2, 2023. Where were you?

Witness: On November, 2, 2023, it was coming to 8 am when I received a phone call from Patricia. I was in Mukono.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What did she tell you?

Witness: She told me, ‘in our home, there is somebody who has committed suicide by shooting himself.’

Prosecutor Wakooli: What else did she tell you?

Witness: By that time, I told her ‘I was a bit far but I was coming to your home.’

Prosecutor Wakooli: So what happened thereafter?

Witness: I had to prepare very fast and I rushed to the place, I didn’t know the place but I called and she promised to direct me to where their home was. I took some time because there was some jam on the way but when it came to some minutes past 9pm, I got lost, I passed their home, then I communicated, she directed me, come back, ‘when you get to a turn, it’s the second gate,  is ours.’

Prosecutor Wakooli: Which area was this?

Witness: The area was in Mbuya.

Prosecutor Wakooli: When you reached there, what did you do?

Witness: When I reached the gate, somebody was waiting for me, whom I came later to know was the chef who ushered me inside the house.

Judge: Chef?

Witness: Yes, my lord.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Whom did you find inside the house?

Witness: When I entered, the chef, took me up to the sitting room, the down sitting room [on a lower floor] and I could see Patricia up. Then I climbed the steps and I reached Patricia.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Who else was in the house?

Witness: When I got to Patricia, she introduced me to Otai, saying he is a doctor.

Prosecutor Wakooli: So what did Patricia tell you?

Witness: When Patricia introduced me to the doctor, she remained behind, I moved with the doctor to the room where the deceased’s body was.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Where was the mother?

Witness: I didn’t see her.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Did you try to inquire?

Witness: When Otai took me to the deceased, I came and asked who the body was for. Patricia said ‘that was my dad.’  Then I asked, “Where is mummy” and she told me, the incident took place when mummy was not around.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Continue.

Witness: When the doctor was explaining to me, there was somebody in a room pouring water.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What did Patricia tell you about the whereabouts of the mother?

Witness: I didn’t go so much into inquiring where mummy was but what she told me was that ‘my mummy was not here when the incident was taking place.’

Prosecutor Wakooli: What did Otai tell you?

Witness: When Otai took me to the room, I immediately told them to stop whatever they were doing and I took over the situation.

Prosecutor Wakooli: And what was Otai doing at that moment?

Witness: I got Otai when he was standing at the doorway where the deceased was.

Prosecutor Wakooli: And who else was in the room?

Judge: You said you took over what? The scene?

Witness: Yes, my lord. Otai was standing near the door where the deceased was.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Who else was in that room with Otai?

Witness: In that room, while we were standing with Otai at the doorway, Amanyire was with a bucket mopping.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What was he mopping, what did you see?

Witness: Inside the room, there was a lot of blood and Amanyire was cleaning the blood.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Did he explain to you the reasons why?

Witness: When I reached, they told me they were faced with such a situation and they wanted my advice.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What advice did you give?

Witness: My advice was to stop whatever they were doing and I chased Amanyire from the room and I took over the room then I communicated to my immediate boss.

Judge: You took over what?

Witness: I chased everyone and I took over the scene by standing at the doorway and I communicated to my immediate charge who told me he had already received the communication in charge of Bugolobi Police Station. He had received information from Dr Otai that he was on his way.

Prosecutor Wakooli: You earlier said you saw blood in the room, what else did you see?

Witness: There was a pistol on the bed, the main bed, there was a cartridge, besides a pistol, and there was a live bullet.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Where was the body?

Witness: The body was placed down on a small mattress, I think three inches, which looked to be new.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Did you establish the people who placed the mattress there?

Witness: No, my lord.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What else did you see from the main bed?

Witness: On the main bed, on the mosquito net, blood was too much there.

Prosecutor Wakooli: The body was clean, they had tied it with gauze on the legs, the way the body is wrapped and there was no blood coming out of the body.

Witness: The OC Bugolobi Police Station, came in shortly at around 10 am.

Prosecutor Wakooli: What did you do when the OC came in?

Witness: I handed over and after a short while, the Jinja Police Division came in with a team and Bugolobi Police Station handed over to the Jinja Police Division.

Prosecutor Wakooli: Anything else you remember seeing at the scene?

Witness: I don’t remember my lord.

Prosecutor Wakooli: That is it with this witness

Defence lawyers MacDosman Kabega and Elison Karuhanga cross-examined the witness before the presiding judge adjourned the matter to today with the prosecution expected to produce more witnesses.