A soldier with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) alongside a Canadian trained lawyer were yesterday sentenced to 50 years in jail after they were found guilty of kidnapping, robbing and murdering an Eritrean businessman.
They burnt the businessman’s body in Busia, Kenya.
Capt Bumali Mangeni, aka Akeem, and two of his accomplices were found guilty of murdering Daniel Michael Weldu, whom they kidnapped from Kololo, drove him through Jinja and sedated him before he was shot dead, doused with petrol and set ablaze to destroy evidence in 2016.
Capt Mangeni’s co-convicts are Benon Duncan Lumu, a Canadian trained lawyer, and Andrew Kisitu, a university graduate.
“The commission of the offences was meticulously premeditated and executed. All the convicts acted in furtherance of unlawful purpose and each one of them played a part in the commission of the offences and failed to dissociate themselves from the heinous acts,” ruled presiding judge Flavia Senoga Anglin.
“The deceased was kidnapped, threatened to be charged with made up offences, sedated into unconsciousness, robbed and was eventually murdered for the sole purpose of stealing the money that he had on his bank account. The body of the deceased was set ablaze, with an apparent intention to disguise the cause of death and to hide the identity of the deceased,” she further ruled.
Prosecution indicated that Capt Mangeni and his co-convicts first robbed Weldu of cash and property, including a Toyota Prado worth more than Shs200m, which they sold in Arua, a day after the murder.
“The convicts, if I may be allowed to comment, acted like beasts of the field, which is unworthy of human beings; they totally disregarded the virtues that befit human dignity, virtues of honesty, hard work, mercy, compassion, and loving kindness towards people,” the judge ruled.
The judge said prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that they “meticulously” executed the murder of the businessman for the sole purpose of accessing money in his bank account.
She said the long jail term was meant to send out a strong message to the public and other would-be offenders that crime does not pay and is not going to be tolerated by anyone.
“They (convicts) should have channeled their youthful energy and education to worthwhile activities but not into crime. Wealth is gained through hard work and honest but not through crime,” Justice Anglin, who was delivering one of her last judgements since she has retired, said.
For the charge of kidnap with intent to murder, each convict was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment.
For aggravated robbery, each convict was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. For the last charge of murder, all the convicts were also sentenced to 50 years imprisonment.
All the sentences are to run concurrently, so they will serve a total of 50 years.
These convicts were also ordered to pay Shs200m to the family of the deceased as compensation.
Prior to the sentencing, Chief State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya had asked the court to hand the convicts the maximum punishment of death by hanging on grounds that the heinous crimes that they committed fit in the category of “rarest of the rare.”
Mr Moses Weldu, a brother of the deceased, said justice had been served, shortly after the court’s decision.