The Court of Appeal has ordered for the immediate arrest of a UPDF officer attached to the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence(CMI) after overturning an earlier decision acquitting him of murder.
Maj. Joel Babumba was arrested together with Alex Baguma, alias Muzeeyi in 2012 and charged with the murder of Moses Kazungu, a herdsman in Nabikakala village, Bukulula Sub-county in Kalungu District.
Kazungu was killed over a disputed piece of land measuring about 154 acres and his body dumped by the roadside near his home but Justice Eudes Keitirima of the High Court in Masaka acquitted the duo in 2015 for lack of incriminating evidence against them.
The deceased was killed and his body dumped by the roadside near his home before his relatives recovered and buried it.
However, the state appealed against the High Court decision.
On Tuesday, two judges including the acting Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo and Cheborion Barishaki ruled that evidence provided by the state was enough to incriminate the duo of masterminding the murder.
“On their part, the respondent(Babumba) argued that PW2 testified that the motorcycle was completely destroyed concluding that it was due to an accident and this caused the deceased’s death. These submissions are mre possibilities and cannot form the basis of a finding that the cause of death was either by accident or intentional. We therefore find that the cause of death of the deceased was intentional and not by accident,” the judges ruled.
Reasoning with the prosecution, the toxic relationship between the deceased and Maj.Babumba was the reason behind the former’s death.
“Upon analysis of the evidence on record, we are satisfied that there was a rift between the deceased and A1 arising out of a land dispute that on a couple of occasions escalated to police involvement and didn’t cease by the time the deceased was murdered.”
“In conclusion, the appeal substantially succeeds. We hereby set aside the acquittal of both respondent and enter a conviction of murder contrary to sections 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act. We order for the immediate arrest of both respondents and that a warrant of arrest be issued for that purpose,” the judges said in judgment delivered by Ayebare Tumwebaze, the Court of Appeal acting Registrar.
Whereas Alex Baguma who was in court was immediately arrested and taken to prison, the court issued an arrest warrant for Maj.Joel Babumba who was not present in court.
The court also directed that after the arrest of both convicts, they should be returned to the Masaka High Court or the High Court criminal division in Kampala for sentencing.