By Michael Odeng
The High Court in Kampala has started hearing an aggravated robbery case against security personnel attached to Christian Life Church in Makerere-Kavule, Kawempe Division. The church belongs to Pastor Jackson Senyonga.
They are Israel Waswa, the chief guard; Ali Ojulongo alias Peter, also a guard at the church; Godfrey Mwanda alias Kefa and Ivan Wanyama.
The four are accused of attacking Sam Mukula, who had gone to the church for prayers, and robbing him of sh500,000.
When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the State Attorney from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Macbeth Agumenaitwe, informed court presided over by Justice Isaac Muwata that Wanyama was seeking plea bargain.
Plea bargain is an agreement between the accused person and the State, whereby the accused voluntarily pleads guilty to the offence in exchange for a lesser sentence.
“I pray the matter be adjourned to another date to allow finalisation of plea bargain process between Wanyama and prosecution,” Agumenaitwe requested.
Under Section 285 and 286 (2) of the Penal Code Act, the offence of aggravated robbery elicits a maximum sentence of death, upon conviction.
The State has also promised to disclose evidence they intend to use during trial to the accused’s lawyers led by Paul Kajuga and Julius Serwanga.
Prosecution alleges that the accused and others still at large on June 8, 2018 at Christian Life Church, being armed with blunt objects, robbed Mukula of his Itel mobile phone worth sh35,000, and sh500,000.
According to prosecution, immediately before and after the robbery, the accused caused grievous harm on Mukula.
How it started
Prosecution alleges that on June 8, 2018 at around 19:30 hours, Mukula and his brother Joseph Odele went for prayers at Christian Life Church. Mukula is a resident of Kibe zone, Kalerwe in Kawempe Division, Kampala.
The court indictment shows that at around 22:00 hours, Mukula felt hungry and he went outside the church to buy porridge.
While taking his porridge outside the church, Mukula says an usher at the church told him to go back inside the church.
Feeling inconvenienced, Mukula walked away, but the usher reportedly continued trailing him till the main road.
Prosecution states that when Mukula reached Umeme building, the watch fell off his hand and as he was picking it, a mob intercepted him and started beating him.
However, in the scuffle, Mukula, according to prosecution, managed to recognise Ivan, Peter, Julius, Aggrey and Waswa, who were security personnel at Christian Life Church.
The victim told prosecution that he recognised the five because they operated at the church’s entry check points.
“I was seriously punched around the stomach and one Ivan broke my hand while I tried to protect the right pocket of my trouser which had sh500,000,” he narrated his ordeal.
The victim said his brother, Joseph Odele, who had come to his rescue was over-powered by the mob and Mukula was taken to Kavule Police Post corridors, where the beating intensified.
It is at this point that the Police intervened and calmed the situation by locking up Mukula in the Police cell, where he realised his phone, national identity card and watch were missing.
The following day, Mukula was released from police custody to seek medical attention since he had sustained injuries, but when his condition deteriorated, he was referred to Mulago Hospital, where he underwent an operation.
Following the incident, the suspects were arrested and detained at Kalerwe Police Station on August 26, 2018.
However, an identification parade was conducted and two suspects were identified by the victim and his brother.
Mukula got injuries on the stomach and right hand, which were classified by medical workers as grievous harm.
The suspects except Wanyama refused to be examined to ascertain their mental status.
Court resumes on Thursday.