High Court acquits Abubaker Kalungi of Kirumira Murder

Justice Mutonyi acquitted Kalungi after the prosecution failed to prove his participation in the September 8, 2018 double murder that happened in Bulenga Wakiso District.

Former Buyende District Police Commander late Muhammad Kirumira. Courtsey Photo

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Justice Margaret Mutonyi of the High Court has acquitted Abubaker Kalungi of the murder of former Buyende District Police boss, Assistant Superintendent of Police Muhammad Kirumira and his friend, Resty Nalinya Mbabazi.

Justice Mutonyi acquitted Kalungi after the prosecution failed to prove his participation in the September 8, 2018 double murder that happened in Bulenga Wakiso District.

Kalungi was arrested from Buliisa District in September 2018 and charged along with Hamza Mwebe.

The prosecution alleged that Kalungi was hired by Mwebe and Abdu Kateregga to trail Kirumira and inform them of his whereabouts.

It was alleged that on a fateful day, Kalungi informed Mwebe and Kateregga of where Kirumira was, and the two came riding on motorcycles and shot Kirumira and Nalinya, who were seated in Kirumira’s car.

In December 2022, the court acquitted Mwebe while Kateregga was killed in Namungoona, Kampala by security agents, leaving Kalungi as the only suspect in the case.

However, Kalungi denied killing the duo and said that on the day of the shootings, he was roofing a house in Ndejje Kibutika and retired to his home after work. His wife, Halima Naggita corroborated his statement before the court.

The judge noted that the prosecution was able to demonstrate three of the four ingredients of murder; death, unlawful death and that there was malice aforethought.

However, the prosecution failed to prove the fourth ingredient of participation, where it had to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person had directly participated in the murders by placing him at the scene of crime or indirectly facilitating the matter.

The judge dismissed the charge and caution statement that the prosecution presented, indicating that Kalungi had confessed to participating in the murders.

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She said the court couldn’t rely on the statement as it was written in English, and the accused person spoke and understood Luganda. There was no proof that the statement written in English had been read to him and that he understood it before he allegedly appended his signature.

The judge further noted that Kalungi’s name, as written on the statement, appeared as though it was written by a child, an indication that the accused couldn’t read or write.

Furthermore, the court found that the accused had been tortured to accept the statement. In his witness before the court, Kalungi had informed the court that he had been tortured and made to sign against his will several documents.

A doctor’s statement upon examination of Kalungi also revealed that Kalungi had healing bruises on his forehead and back, which could have been sustained less than a week ago.

The doctor’s examination was conducted four days after Kalungi entered the said charge and caution statement. This showed that the suspect could have been tortured prior to executing the statement, and yet Detective Stephen Walimbwa who administered it told the court that at the time of administering the statement, the suspect was in good shape.

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The judge wondered how the officer couldn’t have seen the wounds on the suspect’s forehead, yet the doctor saw the same four days later.

The court session was attended by the family of Kalungi and that of the late Kirumira. Two females from Kalungi’s side got teary eyes when he was acquitted. Both sides silently exited the courtroom after the judgment.

Kalungi was handcuffed, and his lawyer, Zefania Zimbe, said that prisons would soon embark on processing him out upon acquittal.

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