Why army court reduced Kitata’s jail term by 7 years!

The court of Appeal of the General Court Martial has quashed the 8 year jail sentence that was handed to former Boda-boda 2010 patron Abdalla Kitata and his driver Ngobi Soweri by the General Court Martial in 2019, which convicted them on charges of illegal possession of arms and government stores.

The Court has since reduced their punishment to serving 1 year, 8 months and 6 days in jail.

Kitatta, through his lawyers appealed against the sentence that was handed him by Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, the Chairman of the General Court Martial together with his driver Ngobi.

Last year, Kitatta and his body guard Sowali Ngobi were convicted of illegal possession of firearms and handed a 10-year jail term, which they complained was harsh, given that they had even spent a lot of time on remand, and that the maximum punishment made it seem like they were capital offenders or hard core criminals which they denied they were not.

On Friday, Civilian Advocate Elly Turyamubona chaired a six-member panel to give their final verdict on the appeal, filed by the convicts’ lawyers Isaac Jjuko and Abdullah Kiwanuka, against the ruling, arguing that it was based on weak evidence since prosecution witnesses had contradicted each other.

Consequently, the appellant court martial slashed the sentence to three years, then went ahead and deducted the time the duo had spent on remand. Court ruled that Kitatta and Ngobi should be set free after they have served one year, eight months and six days in jail starting today.

But the appellant court upheld the ruling by the General Court Martial Chaired by Lt Gen Andrew Gutti, which in May 2019 convicted Kitatta and Ngobi of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition since they didn’t have valid licenses for their firearms even when there was never evidence that they had used the pistol and sub machine gun for criminal activities.

News agency URN quoted lawyer Kiwanuka as telling reporters that the convicts were “happy with the decision to reduce their client’s sentences” but their legal team would “analyze the verdict and see if they can further challenge it to have the criminal record expunged from the court.”

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