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Katanga murder: Witness struggles to prove crucial call

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A court session in the murder case of Henry Katanga underway at the High Court in Kampala on July 10, 2024. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

At 10:10am, judge arrives in court.
Court clerk calls up the case file as the suspects stand up.
Prosecutor Wakooli:  My Lord, appearance is as yesterday (Tuesday). My lord, hearing continues today, and we have witnesses.
Judge:  How many witnesses do you have?
Prosecutor Wakooli:  My lord, we have two.
Judge: Hope you are ready to start.
Bruce Musinguzi (One of the defence lawyers):  Let the suspects take their seats.
Judge: Not every time.
Bruce: One of them just gave birth. (murmurs in court), witness takes an oath.
Prosecutor Wakooli:  Your names again?
Witness: I’m Ogwang Peter [police officer].
Prosecutor Wakooli: How old are you?
Witness: 34 years.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What station are you attached to?
Witness: Bugolobi.
Prosecutor Wakooli: How long have you been at Bugolobi?
Witness: Four years.
Prosecutor Wakooli: As the [officer] in-charge, what are your major roles?
Witness: To receive incidents and follow them up.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Help us, do you know A1 (Ms Molly Katanga), that woman on screen?
Witness: No.
Prosecutor Wakooli: A2 (Patricia Kakwanza).
Witness: Yes, she used to follow up cases reported at Bugolobi from Security Plus Company.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Have you ever seen A3 (Martha Nkwanzi)?
Witness: No, I only saw her on that day of the incident.
Prosecutor Wakooli: How about A4 (Charles Otai), do you know him?
Witness: He is Dr Otai, he works at Bugolobi Medical Centre.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Lastly, A5 (George Amanyire)?
Witness: I also saw him on the same date.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Which date?
Witness: November 2, last year.
Prosecutor Wakooli: I will take you to November 2, where were you?
Witness: What happened was that it was around 9am, and I received a phone call from Otai.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What did he say?
Witness: He said there was a suicide by shooting.
Prosecutor Wakooli: On receiving the information, what did you do?
Witness: Dr Otai led me to the scene, where I found AIP Musede Samuel, guarding the scene. He opened for me the door.
Prosecutor Wakooli: When the door was opened, what did you see?
Witness: I saw a structure of a body, laid on a new mattress, covered with a bed sheet, blood sprinkled all over the room plus the bed soaked with blood but with a black pistol nearby.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Apart from Otai, who else was there?
Witness: Madam Patricia was there. She was seeking help for a matter to be reported at Bugolobi, it was an accident.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What was your response?
Witness: I said we can’t just report this as an accident, SOCO (scene of crime officer) has to come to the scene.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What did you do after?
Witness: I called Detective AP Akongo Bibyana from Jinja Road Police Station who came with a team of homicide and SOCO.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What happened thereafter?
Witness: She took over the scene being superior to me.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Where was A3 (Martha Nkwanzi)?
Witness: By that time, I didn’t know her but after some time, like an hour, I saw her upstairs.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What about A5 (George Amanyire)?
Witness: He was around the gate, he is the one who opened it.
Prosecutor Wakooli: What time did you leave this home?
Witness: Late in the evening because we continued managing the scene until the following day.
Prosecutor Wakooli: My lord, that is all for this witness.
Judge: You may proceed.
Cross examination
Counsel MacDosman Kabega: It’s your evidence that it’s Patricia who called you?
Witness: No.
Kabega: It’s Otai who called you?
Witness: Yes.
Kabega: When she called you, she said she wanted to report the matter as an accident.
Witness: Yes.
Kabega: I want to put to you that Patricia didn’t talk to you at the scene.
Witness: She did.
Kabega: Did you make a statement?
Witness: Yes.
A statement is handed over to the witness.
Kabega: Is that the statement you made?
Witness: I’m still reading it.
Kabega: No, just tell me whether it’s the one or not.
Witness: Yes.
Kabega: When did you make it?

Witness: November 5.
Kabega: That was just two days after the incident and everything you stated was fresh.
Witness: Yes.
Kabega: Read the statement.
Witness embarks on the reading of his statement.
Kabega: Now, in that statement, did you mention anywhere that Patricia told you that she wanted to report the incident as an accident?
Witness: Not there.
Kabega: Did you mention anywhere that you said the incident can’t be reported as an accident?
Witness: No.
Kabega: In fact, you don’t mention Patricia anywhere, correct?
Witness: Correct.
Kabega: How about Martha?
Witness: No.
Kabega: So Mr Ogwang, do you sometimes tell lies?
Witness: I don’t lie.
Kabega: My Lord, we pray that statement be tendered in.
Judge: Ogwang Peter’s police statement is admitted as defence exhibit marked D3. Do you have any query?
Defence team: No.
Judge: Re-examination.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Did you record what you observed that day?
Witness: I didn’t record everything I observed that day.
Prosecutor Wakooli: Why didn’t you record?
Witness: My Lord, I might have forgotten but everything, I have said, is true.
Judge: Thank you, call the next witness.
 The 2nd witness of the day is ushered into the court hall.
Prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya: Tell court your religion: 
Witness: Christian.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Court will help you take an oath
Witness takes an oath.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: For the record, please repeat your full names:
Witness: My name is Timothy Nyangweso.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How old are you?
Witness: I’m 40 now.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Where do you live? 
Witness: I live in, Bbira, Kireka.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What do you do for a living?

Witness: I’m an accountant, but I manage assets for Watoto.
Prosecutor Muwaganya:I’m going to ask you to confirm to court whether you know any of the accused persons, there is one on the screen.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Do you know A1 (Molly Katanga)? My lord, I also request that for identification, she removes the face mask.
Judge: You remove the face mask.
Witness: Wife to my late maternal uncle.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What is the name of your late maternal uncle?
Witness: Henry Katanga.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How about A2 (Patricia Kakwanza)?
Witness: Tricia Katanga.

Businessman Henry Katanga's murder suspects including his two children Martha Nkwanzi and Patricia Kakwanza, plus shamba boy George Amanyirwe and nurse Charles Otai appear in the High Court in Kampala on July 2, 2024 on the first day of trial over the murder. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Prosecutor Muwaganya: How about A3 (Martha Nkwanzi)?
Witness: Yes I do.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How do you know her?
Witness: She is my cousin too.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How about A4 (Charles Otai)?
Witness: I don’t know him.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How about the last one, A5 (George Amanyire)?
Witness: I know him.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: How do you know him?
Witness: George is a helper to the Katangas.
Judge: He is a helper?
Prosecutor Muwaganya: You may be more specific.
Witness: George is a shamba boy, I saw him at their farm and also in their home in Mbuya.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: May you tell the court where you were on the morning of November 2, 2023.
Witness: My lord, I spent the night of the first and second in Bugolobi at my mom’s place. I left my mom’s home at 7am that morning to return home. 
At 8am, my mom called me. She called me at 8am and told me she was trying to call my uncle, Henry Katanga, and could not reach him. 
She asked me to call both his lines. I called both his lines, MTN and Airtel and no one picked them. 
So I called my mom back, and I told her no one was speaking.  
A few minutes later, she called me back. She asked me to call Martha. I called Martha the first time, she made her phone busy, I called her the second time, she still made it busy. 
I then called the third time, she picked up and we exchanged pleasantries. Then I told her I had an appointment with Uncle Henry at 1pm and I inquired about his whereabouts. 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: At around what time did you make this call that Martha finally picked?
Witness: About 8:30am to 9:10am.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: So, when you inquired about the whereabouts of your uncle, did Martha respond to you?
Witness: Yes, she told me he was sleeping and that I should call back later.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What followed?
Witness: What followed, I called my mother. I told her about my conversation with Martha.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Yes. 
Witness: At about 9:30am, my mom called me back and told me uncle Henry was dead.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What followed?
Witness: I turned back and drove to Bugolobi. 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Bugolobi? Which place?
Witness: Bugolobi flats. I found my mom at the gate. 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Which gate?
Witness: Bugolobi flats. We then proceeded to Mbuya.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Which place in Mbuya?
Witness: At the late Henry Katanga’s home 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What did you find at Mbuya?
Witness: When we arrived, there were quite a number of people, including senior officers. Senior officers both in the police and the army [uniform]. We proceeded to the sitting room area. And there was a police officer who stopped us from going upstairs. A certain major allowed my mom to go through. I stayed downstairs.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Do you know why your mother was allowed through?
Witness: I think because she is a relative, a sibling. 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Briefly about the senior officers, do you know in what capacity they were in that home?
Witness:  I don’t know in what capacity they were there but I can identify both of them.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Sorry for taking you back to your uncle. For how long had you known your late uncle?
Witness: My whole life.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: As a person, may you tell this court how you related with him.
Witness: We were very close my Lord. We communicated regularly. I visited him regularly at his office. He also visited my family at my home. We shared a meal. 
Judge: You shared what?
Witness: We shared meals.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: I’m about to wind up, as a person who was close to the late Katanga, are you in position to tell this court what character of a man he was?
Witness: He was kind, and compassionate. He was a family man, loved his children and his relatives and was very generous. Uncle Henry was a father figure to me, was interested in my career, [and] anything that’s developing, and gave wise counsel. Even when I was a hothead.
Judge: What, hot what?
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What do you mean?
Witness: If I came in with an argument or quarrelling, he was always calm and not violent. 
Prosecutor Muwaganya: So, as we wind down, please tell the court what you observed at the scene apart from what you have told the court in the course of the day.
Witness: I met George (the shamba boy who is one of the five suspects).
Prosecutor Muwaganya: At what moment did you meet George?
Witness: Could have been way after 10am or 11am. We were in the house in Mbuya and we were chatting.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Chatting about?
Witness: About the happenings of that day and there were two relatives nearby who called him away as we were chatting. I went to the front of the house, where I saw A Plus (van) taking the body of uncle Henry. We followed the body to the city mortuary [in] Mulago. It was delivered in the mortuary room. I didn’t enter, I stayed outside.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Finally, at the beginning of your testimony, you kept on referring to my mother, who is your mother that you were referring to.
Witness: Nyangweso.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: What is her relationship with the late Katanga?
Witness: There were siblings, the elder sister, my Lord.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: My lord, that is all for this witness.
Cross examination: 
My lord, for the record, I am Elison Karuhanga
Judge: May you proceed.
Karuhanga: Much obliged. Mr Timothy Nyangweso, can you confirm that you recorded a statement?
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanga: Can the statement be given to you? 
The police statement is passed over to him. 
Karuhanga: Is that your statement? 
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanga: Did you sign it?
Witness: Yes, I did.
Karuhanga: Can you confirm the date of your statement, what date did you make that statement?
Witness: I don’t recall the date I made that statement.
Karuhanga: But it’s written on the statement, it’s on the left hand side.
Witness: It says 8/1/24.
Karuhaga: So, you made this statement on the January 8, 2024? Timothy, can you confirm that is more than two months after the incident?
Witness: Yes, it is.
Karuhanga: Timothy, would it be wrong to call your statement an afterthought?
Witness: No.
Karuhanga: Just take me through the events of January 8 before you made the statement.
Witness: We were in court at Nakawa.
Karuhanga: And the case there was this very case?
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanaga: You can confirm that that is the day your cousin Martha was remanded?
Witness: I don’t recall.
Karuhanga: So what was happening in court?
Witness: This very case was in court.
Karuhanaga: For what.
Witness: For hearing and some of my cousins brought to court.
Karuhanga: Was Martha one of them?
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanga: And had she appeared in court before?
Witness: No.
Karuhanga: So that is the day she appeared?
Witness: To my recollection, yes.
Karuhanga: It’s when you saw her that you recalled this conversation.
Witness: No.
Karuhanga: So, after the Nakawa Court session, you took yourself to Jinja Road Police Station to record a police statement.
Witness: No, I was summoned to go and record a statement.
Karuhanga: Were the summons in writing?
Witness: No.
Karuhanga: According to your cousin Martha, she never spoke to you that day of November 2, is she correct?
Witness: No, not true.
Karuhanga: She says your claims are a total fabrication because you never made those phone calls to her.
Witness: Not true.
Karuhanga: Timothy, I want you to look at your statement again. Did you sign on every page?
Witness: Yes, I did.
Karuhanga: Read the last statement.
The witness reads the last portion.
Karuhanga: Timothy, it’s your evidence that you called your uncle, correct?
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanga: Can you confirm you called him with the telephone number in your statement.
Witness: It’s not in the statement.
Karuhanga: Can you read your telephone number?
Witness: I’m not comfortable reading my number in public. It’s written on a piece of paper and passed around to the judge and lawyers.
Karuhanga: My Lord, we pray we tender in his statement.
Prosecution: No objection.
Judge: [The] police statement of Timothy Nyangweso is admitted as defense exhibit D4. Let’s continue.
Karuhanga: Mr Nyangweso, you said you called him after 8am.
Witness: Yes.
Karuhanga: Mr Nyangweso, you are obviously aware that it’s an offense to give false information to the police.
Witness: Yes, I do.
Karuhanga: You are also aware that you are under oath in this court. Are you aware that when the police investigated this case, the police took your uncle’s phones? Are you aware? Prosecutor Muwaganya shoots up and objects to how counsel Karuhanga was cross-examining the witness.
Karuhanga hands a data call list for the witness to confirm whether his number is among those that called Henry Katanga on that fateful day of November 2. 
Karuhanga: It’s a document that was given to us by the prosecution.
Judge: It’s ok, you give [him] the list to look at. There is a question about the people who called.
Karuhanga: At page 35.
Muwaganya: My Lord, this is the problem we have, page 35 is a forensic report. Our colleague is cross-examining this witness on a forensic report and before he does…if I may cite the law, my Lord. 
Judge: Just tell him that his name does not appear on the list.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: Most obliged.
Karuhanga: Okay, Mr Nyangweso, I have a document that says this number … Can you confirm that was your uncle’s number?
Witness: Yes, that was his number.
Karuhanga: Can you confirm that you called your uncle between 7:42a and 10:24am?
Witness: Yes, my Lord.
Karuhanga: Your number does not appear on that list.
Witness: I don’t know about the document but I called him.
Karuhanga: His number does not appear on the forensic list of the Uganda Police.
Witness: I called the number, my Lord.
Karuhanga: The next thing I would like to ask this witness is to get a copy of his statement, I want him to look at it. Read the number of Martha in your statement. Read the number as you dial. It’s 0788149415. Ring and put it in a loudspeaker.
Witness: It’s unavailable
Karuhanga: Is that Martha’s number that you saved in your phone?
Witness: That number is not in my phone [book].
Karuhanga: Is Martha’s number saved in your phone [book]?
Witness: Yes, it is.
Karuhanga: Just confirm the number you dialed is not Martha’s number.
Witness: Yes, it’s not.
Karuhanga: Now, the number in your statement is not Martha’s number, correct?
Witness: My Lord, the number on this statement is not the one in my phone [book].
Karuhanga: And you signed on that statement where there is a wrong number?
Witness: Yes, I did.
Karuhanga: Timothy, I have got another Martha’s call log. It was supplied to us by the prosecution by a court order. So, I just want to give you the call logs supplied by the prosecution and I want to show that your number does not appear.
Witness: That is not true.
Karuhanga: Can I show them to you and you show us the number, on November 2 at any point from midnight to midnight.
Prosecutor Muwaganya: My Lord, we respectfully reject that line of cross-examination. That method of cross-examination is prohibited by Section 148. My Lord, under this section, allowable questions cannot be put to a witness except with a reasonable background to prove that that witness is well connected to our argument is that our learned friend cannot get technical reports and putting them to the witness. Without demonstrating how this witness is connected, is he the author. He is practically becoming a witness as opposed to acting as counsel.
Karuhanga: Section 145 of the Evidence Act for lawful questions that test his veracity. My Lord, a witness has come to court and said he made a call, so the phone call logs have been presented to him to test his veracity. We are telling him that he is telling lies under oath and we are telling him that there is a phone log that shows the dates and time.
MacDosman Kabega: My Lord, we were supplied with call data of various accused and witnesses. Unfortunately, maybe deliberately so, the prosecution did not provide us with call data for this witness. His evidence before court is that he called Martha, now we can only refer to the call data of Martha to test the veracity to say you called Martha and this is what we are trying to put to him my Lord.
Judge: Because he claims he called her.
Kabega: Yes.
Judge: Let him ask.
Karuhanga: Give him Martha call log. He says he called her between 8:30am and 10am. Look at page 90.
Muwaganya: My lord, why do my learned colleagues think this is Martha’s call data? I might sound annoying but I’m not here to please my learned colleagues.
Judge: You are not supposed to disrupt cross-examination.
Karuhanga: What is Martha’s number?
Witness: 0788148415
Karuhanga: Turn to the first page of the document I have given you, does it contain Martha’s picture? 
Witness: Yes it does
Karuhanga: Does it have the phone number I have just given?
Witness: Yes, it does.
Karuganga: It’s stamped by who?
Witness: MTN security department.
Karuhanga: Go to the columns, go to the call data, and confirm that what you are holding is called data records.
Witness: I’m not a call data expert.
Karuhanga:  Go to the call, records, start with page 90, there are dates. Go to November 2, can you confirm that the first call is at 7:13am, is your number there?
Witness: No.
Karuhanaga: You said you called between 8:30am and 9:10m is it your number there?
Witness: I can’t verify these documents but I can confirm that I called her twice and on the third point, she responded.
Karuhanga: Is your number there?
Witness: I can’t verify these documents.
Judge: At page 90, can see the number?
Witness: No, I don’t see the number.
Karuhanga: I’m suggesting to him, it’s not there.
Judge: Can you find your number?

Karuhanga: But you can confirm that his number does not appear on that call log. Mr Nyangweso, your evidence is interesting. Did you say you work with Watoto Church and also work with UBC TV, a host of Behind the Headlines.

Witness: I’m a consultant with UBC.

Karuhanga: You are aware there is a strong media campaign against the accused.

Witness: It’s laughable, I’m not aware.

Judge: Just say you are not aware but not laughable.

Counsel Peter Kabatsi expresses the dissatisfaction of the prosecution disputing their own evidence of the call data.


Prosecutor Muwaganya: That document was referred to or interchangeable referred to as call data and call log, are you able to say what that document is described to be.

Karuhanga: We object to my learned colegaue offering leading questions in re-examination

Prosecutor Muwaganya: My Lord, the last question, are you competent to interprete telephone call data?

Witness: No.

Judge: Anything else?

Prosecutor Muwaganya: That is all my Lord.

Prosecutor Samali Wakooli: My Lord that is all we had for today. We are asking for an adjournment to summon our next set of witnesses.

Judge: So you are saying you cannot produce evidence tomorrow (today) or the other day?

Prosecutor Wakooli: My Lord, we had not provided anything tomorrow.

Judge: We might push this matter to next month.

Kabega: Our client is not on bail, they are delaying the trial.

Prosecutor Wakooli:  We are ready to proceed, if we agree that I call witnesses on a daily basis, I can.

Judge: We have given you a continuous period of one week then we adjourn. Nobody will force you.

Matter adjourned to 12th day and Monday. So, you have two days before this matter is adjourned for a month.