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KATANGA MURDER: Molly Katanga fails to appear in court, criminal summons extended

Henry Katanga's sister Naome holding a placard calling Molly a "murderer on the loose"

Kampala, (UG): The Magistrates Court in Nakawa Division on Monday witnessed a surprising turn of events when Molly Bunanukye Katanga, the central figure in the murder case of Henry Katanga, failed to appear despite a criminal summons issued by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Jane Frances Abado.

Charged with the murder of her husband, Molly was directed by the DPP to make a court appearance on December 4. However, to the dismay of the deceased’s relatives, she was notably absent from the proceedings.

The presiding court magistrate, Mr Elias Kakooza extended the criminal summons to January 8, 2024, on the request of defence lawyers who told court that she (Molly) is still admitted at the International Hospital in Kampala, where she was admitted after the incident.

Court also extended criminal summons against Martha Nkwanza who the defence lawyers argued that she is still admitted at Roswell Hospital in Kampala after giving birth last month.

Both Molly and Martha had been charged but were exempted from immediate imprisonment due to Molly’s reported injuries at IHK and Martha’s recent childbirth at a city hospital.

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Despite these circumstances, their absence from court on the specified date has raised questions and concerns among legal experts and the public. The lack of a clear explanation for Molly’s non-appearance has created uncertainty around the unfolding legal proceedings.

The trial has gained significant attention, given Molly’s status as the prime suspect in the murder case. The absence of the key figure in court has left many wondering about the potential impact on the trial’s progression.

Prosecution alleges that on November 2, 2023, at Mbuya Chwa II Road, Nakawa Division with malice aforethought, Molly caused the death of Henry Katanga.

Nkwanza is charged with an offence of destroying evidence together with her sister Patricia Katanga who has since been sent on remand.

Others charged are George Amanyire, a domestic worker and Charles Otai, a nursing officer who was called to the deceased’s home after the incident. Amanyire and Otai are charged as accessories to the murder.

While Nkwanza, Kakwanza, Otai and Amanyire are not charged with capital offences, the chief magistrate has declined to entertain their bail application on grounds that the chargesheet on which they are charged contains murder which is a capital offence only triable by the High Court.

The chief magistrate has since advised them to apply for bail before the High Court. Katanga died on November 2.

A police report referenced SD21/02/11/2023 of Bugolobi police station indicates that Katanga was shot at close range and that no bullets and fragments were recovered after Katanga’s body was delivered at the city mortuary on November 2.

The report further indicates that Katanga’s body was wrapped in a mattress cover, stuffed in a vehicle and transported to Mulago Hospital mortuary. 

The details of who moved the body remain a subject of ongoing police investigations. Police retrieved a pistol number UG1622200061CZ99 compact. 

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Molly Katanga’s presence in court is considered crucial for the trial’s development, and her non-attendance has introduced an unexpected twist in the ongoing legal saga. The reasons behind her failure to appear remain undisclosed, adding further intrigue to the case.

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