Lawyer wants charges against Ondoga dismissed

Brig. Gen. Michael Ondoga and Lt. Col. Sam Kirya in the dock at Court Martial in Makindye PHOTO/ Peter Busomoke

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A defense lawyer for Brig. Michael Ondoga and Lt. Col. Sam Kirya has asked the General Court Martial to dismiss charges against the two senior army officers on grounds that the state “bungled up” its case and that its (state) witnesses dealt a death blow to the indictments with “fabricated” testimonies.

Ondoga, the ex-commander of the Ugandan troop contingent in Somalia and Kirya, formally the contingent’s military information officer, are alleged to have supplied false information to the commanding officer of the Ugandan contingent Special Forces Command (SFC) component about the location of the enemy in Mogadishu.

They are alleged to have committed the offence at the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) headquarters in Mogadishu on March 27, 2013.

Ondoga and Kirya are also accused of having failed to stop an illegal power connection from AMISOM’s Aljazeera training camp to civilian premises, a private firm and a mast belonging to Hormud, a major telecom operator in Somalia in June 2013.

Frank Kanduho told court chaired by, Maj. Gen. Levy Karuhanga, in Makindye, a Kampala suburb, on Wednesday that the state “messed up” its case when it made no efforts to prove the major ingredients of the charges against the duo.

The state, he argue, failed to place Ondoga and Kirya in the briefing room at AMISOM base camp where they allegedly supplied the SFC commanding officer, Maj. Asaph Nyakikuru, with false information about the location of Al-shabab terrorists.

The prosecution, Kanduho, submitted made “an already bad case worse” when it failed to summon Lt. Col. Chris Ogwal, the ex SFC operations officer, who Nyakikuru claims attended the briefing.

“The state should have beefed up his (Nyakikuru) evidence with corroborative evidence of Lt. Col. Chris Ogwal,” he said. “For unknown reasons, Lt. Col. Chris Ogwal, was never called by the prosecution,” he said. Kanduho was making his final submissions.

Nyakikuru, Kanduho, stated was furnished with a soft copy of a power point presentation made by Kirya during the briefing about the security situation in Marka (the town UPDF was planning to advance to), but he failed to give court a copy.

The barrister submitted that Nyakikuru should be prosecuted for perjury (lying under oath) because his evidence is littered with gross contradictions and that the accused persons were charged on a defective charge sheet.

The generators that powered Aljazeera training center, Kanduho, argued were owned by the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM and they were being managed by AMISOM force command.

The state witnesses, he argued, failed to prove that the accused persons’ roles included connecting and disconnecting power.

The state will give its ruling in a week’s time.

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