MPs grill minister Obiga over acquitted DPC Baguma

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CPS DPC Baguma

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has asked the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Mario Obiga Kania, to quell “public anxiety” arising from the withdrawal of murder charges against former Kampala Central Police Commander Aaron Baguma.

Baguma was jointly charged with a one Muhammad Ssebuwufu, a used car seller and proprietor of Pine Car bond in Kampala, and eight others in connection with the murder of Betty Katusabe in October 2015.

Oulanyah said the Minister, can by way of presenting an explanation to Parliament that the withdrawal of charges against Baguma by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita, was done with procedural propriety.

“This Parliament cannot direct the DPP, it cannot control the DPP. We will not go into that but what is in issue is that it would be good for the Minister to come to this House to tell us that what has been done, has been done well,” Oulanyah said.

The Shadow Minister of Internal Affairs, Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala), raised the issue of the withdrawal of murder charges against Baguma and demanded that government provides a formal explanation.

“We need to hear from the Minister; to give us an account of what has gone wrong. Parliament raised this issue and this has happened [withdrawal of charges], we must be very careful as Parliament not to inculcate impunity in this country,” Kivumbi said.

Katusabe, who was said to have purchased a car from Ssebuwufu on loan, was allegedly tortured to death for defaulting on the loan payment.

Baguma’s alleged undoing, as earlier presented by the DPP, was that he witnessed the torture but nonetheless failed to apprehend Ssebuwufu and his men, but instead gave them tacit approval.

In a widely criticized turn of events, however, the DPP yesterday told the High Court in Kampala that he is withdrawing the charges altogether.

According to Article 120 (3) (d) of the Constitution, the DPP may at any stage withdraw any charges against any person, with the consent of court.

The Constitution also allows the DPP to take over any criminal proceeding at any stage.

Oulanyah, however, noted the constitutional prerogative of the DPP to withdraw charges but added that the Minister should offer his explanation with the view of quelling public anxiety.