Boda boda 2010 patron Abdalla Kitatta and 10 others who were charged over unlawful possession of military hardware have protested against trial by the army court.
The General Court Martial in Makindye on Tuesday charged Kitatta, Matia Ssenfuka, Joel Kibirige, Hassan Ssemata, Jonathan Kayondo, Ssengooba Hassan, Sande Ssemwogerere, John Ssebandeke, Hussein Mugema, Fred Bwanika and Amon Twinomujuni with a number of of offences.
During plea taking the group led by Kitatta told court they could stand being tried by the army court.
“I have heard the offence but I am not ready to be charged in this court because I am not a soldier but a civilian, “Kitatta told court chaired by Lt.Gen.Andrew Guti.
The state prosecutor Maj.Raphael Mugisha told court that investigations are still ongoing but asked that regulation 23 of the UPDF rules of procedure in regards to the request by the group.
“The accused have raised a plea of jurisdiction and its upon them through their lawyer to bring forward evidence upon which they challenge appearing in the court martial,”Maj.Mugisha noted.
In response, the defence lawyers led by Lt.Brian Moogi and Joseph Kiryowa said they would need more time to speak to their clients so as to come up with decision.
The court chairman Lt.Gen.Andrew Guti advised the suspects to consult their lawyers on the punishment for persons found in possession of military equipment.
“You will then be able to get a clear understanding of these charges, “Guti urged.
Kitatta, Sowali Ngobi and Ibrahim Ssekajja were charged with unlawful possession of a fire arm contrary to Section 3 and section 2 of the fire arms act,”Lt.Gen.Guti read the charges.
According to the prosecution, the three people were in January arrested at Wakaliga in Rubaga division and found in possession of an SMG rifle and a pistol without a valid fire arm certificate.
The group were also charged with unlawful possession of 30 and 20 rounds of ammunition for SMG rifles and pistol respectively which are government stores contrary to section 161 of the UPDF Act.
They were also charged with unlawful possession of military equipment including headgear and uniforms which are a monopoly of the defence forces.
Section 119 of the UPDF Act 2005 provides that every person found in unlawful possession of arms, ammunition or equipment ordinarily being monopoly of the defence forces becomes subject to military law.