State still gathering Evidence to pin Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana, Court defers case.

By Adam Bukenya updated at 2012 EAT

Masaka Grade one magistrate, Christine Nantegge, has rejected bail pleas by MPs Muhammad Ssegirinya (Kawempe North) and Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) who are facing several charges, including murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism.

While appearing in court Tuesday, the duo asked the court to grant them bail arguing that they had already spent the required six months on remand, pending trial.

The legislators’ prayers followed submissions by the Resident State Attorney, Richard Birivumbuka, who told court that investigations into their case were still incomplete seeking for an adjournment of the matter.

Mr Birivumbuka told the court that the investigations into murder, one of the charges the two legislators are facing, are close to being concluded, adding that the state will be able to commit the accused persons to high court for trial most likely in the next hearing.

“I had pledged to engage prisons authorities to talk about the allegations of mistreatment raised by the accused persons but they denied. I cautioned them to ensure respectful and cordial treatment of the legislators, and they told me they are doing whatever it takes to address the health issues of the duo as well,” he said.

The legislators thanked the state for engaging the prisons authorities and allowing their visitors to see them, they however, said they are still stuck with the challenge of their health conditions.

Ssegirinya told court that his children have not yet reported back to school since he is the only signatory to his bank account, from which their school fees can be got.

“We want to go for treatment and take care of our families and we are aware that the law permits court to grant us bail since we have been on remand for six months now, so we pray that court grants us mandatory bail which is permitted by the law,” they prayed.

However, the presiding magistrate said they first appeared in court on September 29, 2021 according to court records and therefore the six months period have not yet elapsed. 

“Court is aware of the accused person’s right to bail, but the court has no jurisdiction to grant bail before expiration of this period and prosecution has informed court that investigations are being completed. The committal papers are likely to be ready on the next adjournment date, the matter is therefore adjourned to March 10, 2022 for further mention and update on the status of investigations,” she said.

Background

The two MPs were first accused of murder, attempted murder and aiding and abetting terrorism alongside several other suspects arrested in connection with last year’s spate of killings that left 26 people dead in Greater Masaka. They were later granted bail but re-arrested as they left prisons, and slapped with fresh charges.

The case has since been adjourned several times either due to the absence of the prosecutor or on the state’s request for more time.

In their requests for adjournment, the state has on several occasions argued that the evidence collected by police thus far is not sufficient for the MPs to be committed to High Court for trial.

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