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Court Rejects Re-trial of Murder Case Against Businessman Kato Kajubi

Justice Nakintu held that a High Court has no jurisdiction to re-appraise a decision of the Court of Appeal, adding that her court could also not act to pre-empt the office of the DPP on how to conduct their proceedings.
Businessman Kato Kajubi appearing before Supreme Court Justices via video conferencing.
Masaka High Court has rejected the retrial of Godfrey Kato Kajubi.

In 2012, the High Court convicted Kajubi, after he was found guilty of procuring the murder of Joseph Kasirye; an offence he is said to have committed together with a local witchdoctor Umar Kateregga and his wife Mariam Nabukeera.

Court heard that Kasirye was killed in a ritual sacrifice which was planned by Kajubi after he promised the witchdoctors a payment of 15 million shillings if they helped him accomplish the mission.

However, Moses Ssembajja a city lawyer working with C. Mukiibi Ssentamu and Company advocate filed an application seeking a re-trial, arguing that the earlier process was flawed with procedural inconsistencies.

Ssembajja protested the decision by the Director of Public Prosecution-DPP to withdraw murder charges against Kateregga and his wife Nabukeera, who were instead only used as state witnesses without them being subjected to trial over the same murder.

According to Ssembajja, while tendering in the withdrawal notice, the DPP informed the court of its decision to separate the trial to bring the two as accomplice witnesses and promised the court that their trial would take place at a later stage.  He argues that this did not merit a complete withdrawal of the charges and eventual discharge of the duo.

“Both Kateregga and his wife were principal offenders having confessed to murdering in the first degree, therefore, there was no justification in assuming them as witnesses,” the application reads in part.

Ssembajja also indicates that the two were neither pardoned nor subjected to trial to bring them as accomplice witnesses in the murder of Kasirye, which they physically participated in. 

In his application, Ssembajja requested the court to compel the DPP to reinstate murder charges against Kateregga and Nabukeera, and accordingly, have them jointly re-tried with Kato Kajubi who was already convicted.

He also sought the enforcement of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Kato Kajubi, who he says was subjected to unfair trial in contravention of criminal prosecution laws. 

However on Thursday, Justice Victoria Nakintu Nkwanga of Masaka High Court, quashed the application, indicating that the Ssembajja failed to demonstrate which rights of the convict were violated in the earlier proceedings. Court also ruled that the application seems to challenge a trial that was already determined by the Court of Appeal which upheld Kajubi’s conviction. 

Justice Nakintu held that a High Court has no jurisdiction to re-appraise a decision of the Court of Appeal, adding that her court could also not act to pre-empt the office of the DPP on how to conduct their proceedings.

Ever since he was condemned in 2012, Kato Kajubi has persistently made attempts to get acquitted through filing appeals that have however all been in vain.

Following the promotion of Justice Mike Chibita from Office of DPP to Supreme Court in 2019, Kajubi through different law firms filed two separate appeals challenging his conviction and sentence that was handed to him by Masaka High Court.

The appeals were also not successful after the justices upheld his conviction. He also went to the Supreme Court to plead for a linear sentence.