Defense Lawyer Withdraws from Representing Prime Suspect Katumba Shooting Case

Counsel Geoffrey Turyamusiima has decided to withdraw from representing Yusuf Nyanzi, the prime suspect in the murder case involving the daughter and driver of Works and Transport Minister, General Edward Katumba Wamala.

He announced the decision before the International Crimes Division of the High Court presided over by Lady Justice Alice Komuhangi Khaukha. Court had convened to read the charges against Nyanzi and seven other co-accused, who are facing multiple charges including terrorism, murder, aggravated robbery, and attempted murder.

During the court session, Turyamusiima informed the court that he has chosen to stop representing Nyanzi due to a breakdown in their professional relationship. Nyanzi also confirmed in court that he had written a letter to indicate that he had never instructed Turyamusiima to represent him and was not comfortable with his legal representation.

As a result, the court-appointed Sylvia Namawejje, who will represent Nyanzi on the state brief, as required in capital offenses. The case was adjourned until June 23, 2023. In a previous session, the court was unable to proceed with the reading of charges due to the absence of Nubian and Lusoga interpreters, which the accused persons had requested to be present for the proceedings.

The accused persons were committed to trial on multiple charges, including terrorism, murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, financing terrorism activities, and belonging to a terrorist organization.

The charges stem from a shooting incident in which General Katumba Wamala, his bodyguard Sergeant Khalid Kuboit, survived while his daughter, Brenda Nantongo, and driver, Sergeant Haruna Kayondo, lost their lives.

The prosecution alleges that the accused persons were involved in various crimes, including multiple murders and robberies committed at different locations. Firearms, ammunition, motorcycles, hoods, ropes, and materials related to terrorism were among the exhibits recovered during police searches. It was also revealed that the recovered firearms had been used in previous high-profile murder cases.

In July 2021, the defense lawyers filed an application seeking the release of the suspects, claiming that they had been subjected to torture. However, their request for an urgent hearing during the COVID-19 lockdown was denied by the High Court Civil Division. Yusuf Nyanzi, one of the suspects, is involved in three separate cases involving capital offenses and high-profile murders.

He had previously been arrested in early 2017 in connection with the killing of the former Police Spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi, his bodyguard, and driver. Nyanzi was later charged with the murder of Major Muhammad Kiggundu and his bodyguard Sergeant Steven Mukasa in November 2016. 

Following his release on bail by Lady Justice Lydia Mugambe, Nyanzi was rearrested from his home in Kisaasi, Kyanja in connection with the attempted murder of General Edward Katumba Wamala and the murder of his daughter and driver on June 1, 2021.

He has remained in custody since then on these charges.

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