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Katanga’s Daughters Released on Bail

Kampala High Court has granted bail to four suspects held at Luzira Prison on charges of tampering with evidence in the murder of wealthy city businessman, Henry Katanga. 

The accused are Molly Katanga’s daughters –  Martha Nkwanzi Katanga, Patricia Kakwanza alias Tricia; househelper George Amanyire and Charles Otai.

“The Court hereby accepts the sureties presented by the accused persons, although the Prosecution had challenged their substantiality by their demeanour in Court,” said Justice Isaac Muwata on Wednesday.

“The UPDF surety is substantial; he is not obliged to seek permission from his seniors to come and stand surety. The sureties appeared to have authority over the applicants based on the questions asked from them by the Prosecution such as the names for mothers of the accused,” the judge emphasised.

Martha Nkwanzi and Patricia Kakwanza, are charged with destroying evidence at the scene of Katanga’s murder, while others, Charles Otai, a nurse, and George Amanyire, a shamba boy, are charged with being an accessory after the fact of the murder.

Katanga, a prominent moneylender was found dead on the morning of November 2, 2023, in his bedroom at his matrimonial home in Mbuya, Kampala. 

Court released the accused on a cash bail of Shs 2m each while each of the sureties were bonded at Shs20m.

The Katangas’ lawyer Jet Mwebaze said, “This has been the most adjourned bail application in the history of Uganda but they are glad that court has finally granted them bail.”

Prosecution had argued against granting bail to the accused, saying they would interfere with the course of the investigations. 

Resistance 

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), through State Attorney Jonathan Muwaganya, urged Justice Isaac Muwata to deny bail to the applicant, adding that the state is ready for trial and has obtained witnesses. 

The DPP also called for strong terms on conditions should the court grant the suspects bail, insisting that the suspects sureties should be bonded for at least Shs100m, while suspects must deposit land titles and passports and report to the court registrar on a weekly basis.

However, in their application, Nkwanzi and Kakwanza argued for their constitutional right to bail, claiming they were innocent and eager to prove it. 

Nkwanzi specifically mentioned being a new mother with a breastfeeding baby who needed her care.

Amanyire and Otai also cited their roles as the sole breadwinners for their families.

Citing the Supreme Court decision in the 2006 case of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) versus the Attorney General, the applicant lawyers argued that the suspects qualify for mandatory bail as they have been on remand for over 60 days, yet the law provided for a decision to be made within 30 days.

The lawyers further argued that the case for which the suspects are charged is also triable by the magistrates court, where they initially sought bail 7 times in vain.

Molly Katanga, who is accused of killing her husband was on January 24 remanded to Luzira Prison till February 19, 2024.

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