State objects to bail for Katanga murder suspects

L-R: Suspects George Amanyire, Charles Otai and Patricia Kakwanza in the dock at the high court on Monday. Photos | Juliet Kigongo.

What you need to know:

  • Through their lawyers, the two daughters told the court that they needed to return home and mourn their deceased father. However, Mr Muwaganya reminded the court that they are charged with destroying evidence that was found at the scene of crime following the death of their father.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has asked the court to deny bail to four people accused of tampering with evidence in the case of the death of Kampala businessman Henry Katanga. Prosecution led by Mr Jonathan Muwaganya on Monday told the court presided over by Justice Isaac Muwata that the four suspects did not raise any valid exceptional circumstances for the grant of bail.

The applicants are the two daughters of the late Katanga and Molly Katanga; Ms Patricia Kakwanza and Ms Martha Nkwanzi who are facing a lesser charge of destroying evidence. 
The other applicants are Mr Charles Otai, a medic and Mr George Amanyire, a house help who both also face a lesser charge of being an accessory after the fact of murder. Molly, who is facing a charge of murder has not applied for bail yet. 

Mr Muwaganya submitted, “We oppose the application in totality. We invite the court to consider the fact that this matter was already committed and ready for trial, we invite the court to use its discretion and dismiss the application and instead fix the hearing date. But if the court is inclined to grant bail for any of the applicants, we pray for stringent terms." 

Among the stringent terms include; depositing of land titles, and passports, a punitive bond commitment for the sureties that will be so compelling for their duties, a proposed bond of 100m for each of the sureties, a weekly reporting to the registrar until the trial date and a specific order for noninterference of witnesses or persons that recorded police statements. 

Ms Martha Nkwanzi seated in the middle of prison waders at the High Court in Kampala.

Mr Muwaganya also told the court that the other two applicants Mr Otai and Mr Amanyire have no fixed places of abode and presented non-substantial sureties whom he termed as professional sureties.

In response, Mr Elison Karuhanga representing all the accused persons told the court that the DPPs office has failed to understand the principle of the presumption of innocence. He argues that bail isn't a punishment. He also informed the court that the accused persons had been on remand for over 60 days and the Constitution provides that if a person has been on remand for sixty days they must be released immediately. 

He further asked the court to take a judicial notice as Nkwanzi cannot even stand in court and the court should consider the condition of lactating mother unable to breast feed her child. Mr Katanga died on November 2, 2023, following an alleged fight with his wife Molly Katanga in their bedroom at their matrimonial home in Mbuya, Kampala. It is the prosecution's case that on November 2, 2023, at Mbuya Chwa 2 Road, Nakawa Division, with malice aforethought, Ms Molly Katanga killed her husband, Henry. 

According to their grounds for bail, the four accused persons state that they are charged with bailable offences, they are entitled to the constitutional presumption of innocence, have substantial sureties, they are law-abiding citizens who have never been charged or convicted of any criminal offence. 

Other grounds are that the applicants are gainfully employed, breadwinners of their respective families with fixed places of abode within the jurisdiction of the court to which they shall not abscond once released on bail and have no capacity to interfere with the investigations into the pending criminal case. The case was adjourned to February 21 for a ruling on the bail application. 

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