Justice Flavia Anglin Ssenoga sentenced Muhammed Ssebuwufu, the proprietor Pine Car Bond to jail for 40 years for the murder of Betty Donah Katusabe.
Also sentenced are six others; Godfrey Kayiza, Phillip Mirambe, Paul Tasingika, Yoweri Kitayimba, Shaban Otuddu and Damaseni Ssentongo.
In her sentence, Justice Ssenoga handed the convicts 40 years for murder, 20 years for aggravated robbery and 30 years for kidnapping Katusabe with intentions of murdering her. She said the sentences will run concurrently. Justice Ssenoga on other hand sentenced Stephen Lwanga to seven years in jail for being an accessory to the offenses.
She also directed the convicts to compensate Katusabe’s family Shs 100 million for the offense of aggravated robbery. Justice Ssenoga noted that she decided to hand the convicts these sentences since they committed the offenses with impunity, adding that it would deter other would be offenders from committing similar crimes.
In his submission, the assistant director of public prosecutions, Alex Michael Ojok asked court to give the convicts the maximum sentence of death. He explained that the convicts went through a full trial, which cost the state huge resources. The convicts’ lawyers, Caleb Alaka and Evans Ochieng asked court to hand them a lighter sentence because they are first-time offenders. They argued that the convicts are young men between 30 and 46 years with families to look after.
“The purpose of the sentence is to offer the convict an opportunity to reform. The death sentence is not justifiable in the circumstances of this case,” Ochieng told court.
The defense lawyers also asked the judge to look at the sentence handed over to the convicts involved in the 2010 Kampala twin bombing arguing that many people died but nevertheless, the trial justices led by the deputy chief justice, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo handed them a lighter sentence.
The suspects shed tears while pleading with court to release them. Details of the case are that on October 21, 2015, the convicts kidnapped Katusabe from her home in Bwebajja along Entebbe road and drove her to Pine car bond along Lumumba Avenue in Kampala where they used sharp objects like pangas and sticks to torture her to death.
Katusabe had reportedly failed to pay balance of Shs 9 million for a vehicle she bought from Sebuwufu’s bond valued at Shs 17 million. The convicts also reportedly robbed Katusabe of her simcards and the mobile phone worth Shs, 300,000.
The prosecution presented 26 witnesses including police officers, lawyers and pathologists who adduced evidence that linked the convicts to Katusabe’s murder. The convicts had jointly been charged with the former Central Police Commander, Aaron Baguma whose was later dropped from the case by the DPP without clear reasons.