High Court judge Anglin Senoga has sentenced Pine car bond proprietor Muhammad Sebuufu to 40 years in prison and ordered him to pay up to Shs 100 million shillings to the family of Dinah Betty Katushabe, whom he was found guilty of murdering.
In her ruling, the judge noted that the Sebuufu and his seven co-accused convicts acted with impunity to kill a woman, over a matter that they could have solved in court with a civil suit.
She said these deserved a serious sentence to act as an example to other would-be offenders
The judge handed out 20 years in jail to each one of the convicts on the charge of Aggravated Robbery, 30 years for kidnap and 40 years for murder, which are to be served concurrently.
The suspects are said to have kidnapped Mrs Katushabe, who allegedly owed the car bond a balance from a car she purchased there; drove her to the bond where they beat her up and took away her belongings. She died of the injuries moments later.
One of the suspects Stephen Lwanga who is said to have driven the victim, was handed 7 years in jail for “accesory after the fact”
Earlier on, the prosecution through Ajok Alex Michael had asked the trial judge to condemn the suspects to death.
“They wasted court’s time by undergoing a full trial, the deceased was humiliated at the car bond, tortured and her clothes including under garment were torn by a group of men,” the state told court.
“It was a well-planned murder whereby a fake file was opened up at CPS Kampala, the deceased was later picked from her home and taken to Pine where she was tortured thus leading to her death” Ojok said.
The prosecution further stated that Sebuufu and his co-accused were not remorseful because they failed to admit the charges which forced court to undergo a full trial
In response, defense counsels led by Caleb Alaka asked court to grant them a lenient sentence of at most 10 years because they are first time offenders with no proved criminal record.
They added that this is not among the rare of the rarest cases where somebody can be given the maximum sentence
Sebuufu also sought to appeal to court for leniency.
“In all my life I have never committed any offence, I am a sole bread winner for more than 68 orphans and street children who are currently residing at my home” Sebuufu addressed court
His lawyers went ahead and informed court that Sebuufu, 36 old is one of the few reliable businessmen in the country who employs more than 500 Ugandans and his long time incarceration may lead to collapse of his businesses
The judge however, was unmoved by the defense please.
“Their mitigating factors like community responsibility, having families and advanced age can’t save them from serving a custodial sentence,” she ruled.
The accused through their lawyers, vowed to appeal both the sentence and conviction.