The Court of Appeal has upheld the judgment of the High Court in the murder of city businessman Eriya Ssebunya Bugembe also known as Kasiwukira.
Kasiwukira was on October 17, 2014 knocked dead by a speeding motor vehicle at about 6:00am as he jogged near his home in Muyenga but in 2016, the High Court in Kampala in 2016 acquitted the deceased’s widow, Sarah Nabikolo as it convicted her cousin Sandra Nakungu and Jaden Ashraf, a police constable for the murder.
The state later appealed against Nabikolo’s acquittal.
On Monday, the panel of three justices of the Court of Appeal including Elizabeth Musoke, Hellen Obura and Ezekiel Muhanguzi ruled that there was no evidence to link the deceased’s wife to the murder.
In their appeal, the state relied on evidence of John Bugembe, a brother to the deceased who testified that he had been approached by the deceased to inform him of the squabbles he had with his wife Nabikolo but the appellant court dismissed the evidence as not being conclusive.
“As far as this court is concerned, the evidence was not conclusive because Bugembe(brother to the deceased) didn’t know the nitty-gritties of the deceased’s relationship with the respondent(Nabikolo),” the three judges ruled.
The state had also relied on evidence of a boda boda ride who used to work at Kasiwukira’s home between 2001 and 2004 who told court he had been asked by the deceased to follow his wife and cousin as they went to traditional healers.
According to the state, this was evidence to show something was not right with the relationship at Kasiwukira’s home was strained prompting the wife to hire Jaden Ashraf to kill him.
However, in their ruling, the three justices of the Court of Appeal ruled that this was just hearsay by witnesses that could not be relied on to convict Nabikolo.
“The evidence of the boda boda guy did not in any way point to respondent’s participation in the murder of the deceased. While prosecution witness testified to have met and interacted with Nakungu and Jaden (convicts), there was no evidence to show he ever met with the respondent (Nabikolo).”
The court said in the recording presented to court in which the plan to kill Kasiwukira was hatched, despite mentioning someone by the title “madam”, there was no evidence that the person being referred to was Kasiwukira’s wife.
“The available evidence is inconclusive and only leads to suspicion and suspicion cannot be based upon to support a conviction. Neither of the prosecution witnesses at trial made a direct reference to the respondent (Nabikolo). The persons who were mentioned as involved in the plan were the ones who carried out the murder.”
The Court of Appeal judges ruled that failure by the state to connect Nabikolo to the murder meant she was clear of any charge and she is off the hook for the murder of her husband, Eriya Ssebunya Bugembe also known as Kasiwukira.
The three judges of the appellant court dismissed the appeal.