City car dealer Muhammad Ssebuwufu will today know his fate following his conviction over the murder of businesswoman Betty Donah Katusabe.
On Monday last week, High Court judge Flavia Anglin Ssenoga found Ssebuwufu and seven others guilty of kidnapping and killing Katusabe over a sh9m debt, but deferred sentencing to today. Other convicts are Paul Tasingika, Shaban Odutu alias Golola, Philip Mirambe, Godfrey Kayiza, Stephen Lwanga, Yoweri Kitayimbwa, and Damaseni Ssentongo.
The group, which is facing death is the maximum sentence for murder, was also convicted of robbing Katusabe’s smartphone worth sh300,000. Citing the medical report by Dr. Male Mutumba, Ssenoga said Katusabe did not die of natural causes, but due to injuries inflicted on her by the accused in a bid to force her to pay the money.
The prosecution said the accused and others still at large on October 21, 2015, kidnapped Katusabe, before beating her at Pine car depot on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala over a sh9m car debt. “The available evidence on court record places the accused at the scene of the crime and the accused never disputed it,” the judge said.
The judge explained that she convicted Lwanga for aiding the commission of the offense, but said the rest formed a common intention of forcing Katusabe to pay the sh9m debt. She also disregarded the assessors’ opinion, who unanimously implored the court to acquit the accused.
The judge said the assessors failed to properly evaluate the evidence on record. Although Ssebuwufu in his defense said he had already secured payment through a post-dated cheque and that he had no reason to kill Katusabe, the judge said all his evidence was cover up.
The judge also disregarded Tasingika’s evidence. He had told the court that he was hired by Sam Kiwanuka to pick Katusabe from Bwebajja in the company of Police officers over a Toyota Prado debt and not the Premio she had acquired from Ssebuwufu.
In 2015, Ssebuwufu sold a Toyota Premio car to Katusabe at sh17m. She paid sh8m cash and remained with a sh9m balance. On October 21, 2015, Katusabe was picked n up by the Police officers from her residence at Bwebajja, in the company of Tasingika and was transported to Kampala.
On reaching Kampala, she requested to be taken to Pine car depot, to talk to Ssebuwufu, in a bid to resolve the matter amicably, instead of jailing her. The Police officers granted her request, but at about 5:00 pm on a fateful day, she was reportedly assaulted and was rushed to Mulago Hospital, from where she died.
Ssebuwufu and eight others including former Central Police Station commander Aaron Baguma were later indicted on three counts of murder, kidnap and aggravated robbery. At the commencement of the trial, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped the charges against Baguma without giving reasons