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Pine Murder: Car dealer Ssebuwufu’s fate for today

Three state witnesses have testified against Pine Car Bond owner, Muhammad Ssebuwufu over alleged murder of Donah Betty Katusabe.

By Nasser/The Homeland News AGENCY

Pressure mounts high among the car traders at pine car yard as the High Court in Kampala is expected to deliver its verdict in the murder case against city car dealer Muhammad Ssebuwufu today.

Haji.Muhammad Ssebuwufu and seven others are accused of beating to death businesswoman Betty Donah Katusabe in 2015 over a sh9m car debt.

High Court Judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga was supposed to deliver the verdict on May 29 but pushed it to today (June 17), saying it was not yet ready at the time.

The late (Katusabe) was allegedly tortured to death by the accused on October 21, 2015 at Pine Car Bond on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala.

the records at Court indicate that Katusabe bought a Toyota Premio of registration number UAX 481H from Ssebuwufu at sh17m and remitted sh8m, thereby remaining with a balance of sh9m debt which is said to have caused her murder at the time she had come to clear the debt.

Haji.Ssebuwufu (Pine) as he popularly known  is battling murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery charges alongside Paul Tasingika, Shaban Odutu alias Golola, Philip Mirambe, Kayiza Godfrey, Stephen Lwanga, Yoweri Kitayimbwa and Damaseni Ssentongo.

Each of the three charges against the accused attracts a maximum sentence of death upon conviction by the court.

Initially, they were battling the charges together with former Kampala Central Police Station commander, Aaron Baguma, but Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) justice Mike Chibita dropped the charges against him (Baguma) at the commencement of the trial last year without advancing any reason to that effect.

On April 29, Court assessors lead by Rehema Babirye, Betty Bogere and Joseph Wasibi advised the judge to acquit all the accused persons on grounds that prosecution had failed to prove the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt.

For clarity purposes a court assessor is a lay person (not a lawyer) who is appointed by court to sit and listen to criminal cases at High Court level and advise a trial judge on whether to convict or acquit an accused person basing on evidence submitted in court by the prosecution.

However, an assessor’s opinion is not legally binding on the decision or determination of the case by any presiding judge. One would choose to adopt its findings and recommendations thereof or disregard them.

The prosecution led by Assistant DPP Alex Micheal Ojok produced in court 26 witnesses to pin the accused.

However Haji.Ssebuwufu contends that although he sold the car to the victim with an outstanding balance, he had already secured it through a cheque and that had no reason to hunt for her. May be her death was caused by other issues though it happened at our Yard.Sebuwufu adduces in the evidence presented to the court.


The charge

Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large kidnapped Katusabe before beating her to death over a sh9m debt.

They are also accused of robbing the deceased of her cell phone worth sh300, 000.

 Co-accused Tasingika says that he was hired by Sam Kiwanuka to pick Katusabe from Bwebajja in the company of police officers over a Toyota Prado.

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