The Appellant Court Martial has reduced the ten-year jail term handed to Abdallah Kitatta, the patron of militia outfit, Boda Boda 2010 and his bodyguard, Sowali Ngobi for illegal possession of firearms to just three years.
The six-member court chaired by a civilian advocate, Elly Turyamubona sitting in Makindye, delivered its verdict today Friday. The court also deducted the time the duo has spent on remand from the sentence, saying they will now serve for one year, eight months and six days.
They noted that the ten-year jail term handed to the duo by the General Court Martial in 2019 was too harsh and excessive. They argued that the maximum punishment should have been handed to hardcore criminals, which wasn’t the case with Kitatta and Ngobi.
Court heard that both Kitatta and Ngobi who have been in custody since their arrest in January 2018 have never used the pistol and sub machine gun they were found with to endanger anyone’s life or used them in criminal activities.
The same court evaluated the evidence used to convict the duo and found that they were convicted properly because they didn’t have valid licenses for the firearms in their possession, yet they are ordinarily meant for defence forces.
The two were found guilty for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition by the General Court Martial chaired by Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti in May 2019.
They were sentenced to a maximum sentence of ten years for each of the offences that they were meant to serve concurrently. However, the convicts challenged the sentence through their lawyers Isaac Jjuko and Abdullah Kiwanuka.
Ngobi argued that he was a police officer who was armed by his bosses led by Nickson Agasirwe, the former commandant of the Special Investigations Unit. They also noted that the General Court Martial erred in law and fact when it relied on weak prosecution evidence, which resulted into miscarriage of justice.
They also faulted the court for having erred in law and fact when it relied on contradictory evidence by prosecution witnesses when they couldn’t tell on which side of the body Kitatta's golden pistol was found. The convict’s lawyer, Kiwanuka told journalists that they are happy with the decision to reduce their client's sentences.
He, however, said they would analyze the verdict and see if they can further challenge it to have the criminal record expunged from the court.