By Michael Odeng and Barbra Kabahumuza
The regional Criminal Investigations Department commander, Kampala Metropolitan North has been quizzed over a report exonerating Pastor Jackson Senyonga’s personal assistant, Israel Wasswa, of aggravated robbery charges.
Wasswa, the former head of security at Christian Life Church, is battling the charges together with Ivan Wanyama, a chapatti maker and the church security guards — Ali Ojulongo alias Peter and Godfrey Mwanda alias Kefa.
Prosecution alleges that the four, on June 8, 2018, at Christian Life Church premises near Umeme building and in the cell corridor of Kavule Police Post, assaulted Sam Mukula and robbed him of a mobile phone worth sh35,000 and sh500,000.
Mukula was one of the church members who always congregated at Christian Life Church, ministered by Senyonga.
However, in a report dated April 26, 2019, presented before the High Court in Kampala presided over by Justice Isaac Muwata, detective Superintendent of Police Topher Gimei Nakoko noted that: “Wasswa was not present at the place of confusion, neither was he among the church security personnel who advised the victim to get out of the church.”
Nakoko told court that eye witnesses revealed that at the time of the alleged assault, Wasswa was with the pastor at the altar while Ssenyonga preached.
But prosecution quoted Wasswa’s statement in which he stated: “When I stepped out of the church to check whether the person I placed to guard the pastor’s car was there, I saw a group of people and when I drew closer, I heard them saying they want to kill him and took his money worth sh500,000.”
“If Wasswa tells court he stepped outside the church, would he be telling the truth?” Jonathan Muwaganya asked. In response, the Police boss said he would be contradicting himself.
The Police officer also denied receiving money from Wasswa.
The court also heard that Nakoko’s deputy met Wasswa in Mbarara district for a purpose unknown.
False report But prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya told court it was a fake report, revealing that the Police boss was in constant communication with Wasswa during investigations.
The court also heard that Wasswa used to send religious messages to the Police boss, who spoke to the latter (Wasswa) 41 times.
“You hijacked the case file from Police officers investigating the matter and came up with an imaginary report in a bid to save Wasswa,” Muwaganya told the witness, who denied the same.
The court heard that the first defence witness never recorded minutes of submitting and receiving the case file from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Asked by Muwaganya why the victim was detained at Kavule Police Post, Nakoko said it was to save his life from a bodaboda mob, who mistook him for a thief.
The defence witness also said during investigations, that he discovered that there was an in-house church conflict between bodyguards headed by Wasswa and those patrolling outside the church.
Nakoko denied allegations that Wasswa took over the command of Kavule Police Post at Makerere.
FateFul night Nakoko said on the fateful night, Mukula had gone for evening prayers, but instead became a nuisance by shouting, banging tables and interrupting whoever tried to control his action.
Nakoko said when the victim’s unbecoming behaviour became too much and unbearable, the church security advised him to move out, where he would continue without necessarily others.
Nakoko, however, said the victim ran out of the church building towards the main road, where he met bodaboda riders who mistook him for a criminal escaping arrest and beat him.
Nakoko noted that it is at that point that the victim ran and fell off from the main road into the valley within the church compound.
Contradicting statement According to prosecution, Nakoko’s narrative of what transpired on the fateful night, is different from the testimonies of witnesses and the accused. Because of the realisations, Prosecution concluded that Nakoko could have been paid to make a false report.
The court also heard that Police preferred charges of assault against the victim, but that Nakoko did not follow up the case. The case resumes on Wednesday, next week.