High Court in Kampala presided over by Justice Lydia Mugambe had blocked UPDF General Court martial from trying Ministry of Defence bosses who were implicated in shs 2bn financial saga.
According to the ruling,Justice Mugambe blocked General Court Martial from trying Kyakabale Caroline the former Human resource manager in- charge of civilian personnel in the Defence ministry. She is jointly charged with Maj Kapalaga Lubega, an officer of the UPDF Air forces, and his wife Evas Lubega Twinomugisha.
In her Ruling, Justice Mugambe said “In these circumstances of mistrust, unclear or unspecific offences for the Applicant and considering that justice must always be seen to be done, I am more inclined to consider that as a civilian, her right to a fair hearing will be better guaranteed if tried in the ordinary courts than in the general court martial. Accordingly, this application is allowed. The trial of the Applicant in the court martial is hereby halted. If the ministry of Defence so wishes let it have the Applicant charged in the ordinary courts,” reads part of Justice Mugambe’s ruling.
Prosecution alleges that between October 2005 and January 2016, Maj Lubega, his wife Twinomugisha, Kyakabale, and others still at large caused the Ministry of Defence to enter into an employment contract with a non-existing pilot purportedly a Russian by the name of Valerie Ketrisk
It is believed that the Ministry of Defence lost more than Shs2 billion in salaries to the Mi-17 and Mi-24 military helicopters’ ghost pilot, who spent more than 11 years on the army’s payroll.
According to the report published in media in 2016, the ministry had paid out at least $618,000 (about Shs2.07 billion) in monthly salaries and another $120,000 (about Shs402 million) in gratuity to the ghost pilot-cum-instructor of the Mi17 and Mi24 helicopter gunships.
The state further alleges during the same period, the trio fraudulently received money paid through Barclays Bank on account in various amounts totaling to Shs2bn as purported salary for Ketrisk.
The prosecutor, Lt Col Raphael Mugisha, confirmed receipt of the order, saying it is in interest of justice for them to wait.
Kyakabale is represented by Ronald Iduli of M/s. Ojok Advocates
In formal declaration, Lawyer Ronald Iduli says that the trial of the Applicant- a person not subject to military law, by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (herein after the UPDF) general court martial, violates her right to a fair hearing.
He further says that the trial of the Applicant in a military court for a non-service offence violates her right to a fair hearing. A declaration that the general court martial lacks jurisdiction to try the Applicant, who is a civilian with non-service offences.
Counsel Ronald narrates that the trial of the Applicant on an incurably defective charge sheet violates her right to a fair hearing.
Kyakabale’s lawyer says that the offence of other fraudulent offences provided for under section 176(g) of the UPDF Act for which the Applicant was charged with, is a non-defined offence.
A declaration that the general court martial lacks jurisdiction to try the applicant with a non-defined offence.
He further states that the trial of the Applicant without full advance disclosure violates the right to affair hearing.
Lawyer tells Court that the general court martial lacks competent jurisdiction to try the Applicant for the offences she was charged with.