Molly Katanga, the wife of businessman Henry Katanga, has been formally charged with the murder of her husband, Henry Katanga at Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court.
Molly was brought to into the courtroom on a wheelchair Court amidst tight security, including armed Counter Terrorism police. She appeared with bandages on her head and hands, and her face partially covered by a mask.
Clad in a long purple tie-dye African print, Molly Katanga, while being wheeled by a police officer, was positioned in a crowded corridor where the charges of murdering her husband were communicated to her.
Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza presided over the court, hearing that Molly Katanga, aged 55, allegedly shot her husband dead with a pistol on November 2nd, 2023, at Mbuya Chwa two road, Nakawa Division, Kampala Capital City.
Since the court lacked jurisdiction to conduct the trial, the prosecution, led by Jonathan Muwaganya, requested her commitment to the High Court for trial, as investigations had been completed.
Molly Katanga had been sought by authorities since early November 2023, and an arrest warrant was issued against her by Chief Magistrate Erias Kakooza on Monday, following the prosecution’s request. After presenting the evidence against her, Molly’s lawyers, led by Peter Kabatsi, asked the court to order continued medical care for her while in prison.
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Kabatsi emphasized that despite her progressive recovery from five consecutive injuries, Molly still required medical attention. Additionally, the defense sought access to Molly’s residence, which had been inaccessible since the incident, arguing that investigations were complete.
Molly’s lawyer, Mac Dusman Kabega, urged the court to instruct the police to vacate the premises, highlighting the continued 24-hour cordon off. The prosecution led by Jonathan Muwaganya, expressed uncertainty about the security arrangements at the crime scene and requested time to consult with the Director of CID.
Muwaganya said, he had been instructed that there is no single policeman at home or a guard but he has been further instructed that the military remained guarding the home.
“And what I have been further instructed is that the military officials are guarding the home on account of the home owners. Your Honor this is very important and I pray we be on record , and there is no single police officer at the scene of crime,” said Muwaganya.
Muwaganya said the issue of the residence was complex for him. He prayed the matter be handled administratively adding that Kabega already wrote a letter to the Director CID as well as Kampala Associated Advocates. He noted that the Director already held a meeting with some of the defense lawyers and said the matter is being handled with all its security complexities.
He said if there is no remedy out of this, a substantive application should be made and the court shouldn’t issue an order to issues that are not clear.
Magistrate Kakooza has directed the prison officers to make sure that Molly Katanga’s doctors access her while in prison. He has also ruled that the family members shouldn’t be blocked by security from accessing their home and subsequently remanded Molly Katanga to Luzira Prison until such a time when the High Court will be ready to try her.
Magistrate Kakooza directed the prison officers to make sure that Molly Katanga’s doctors access her while in prison.
He has also ruled that the family members shouldn’t be blocked by security from accessing their home and subsequently remanded Molly Katanga to Luzira Prison until such a time when the High Court will be ready to try her.
Relatedly, on Wednesday morning, the High Court Criminal Division Judge Isaac Muwata fixed 29th 2024 to hear the bail application for Molly’s co-accused persons.
The bail hearing date has been fixed by Justice Muwata after making a ruling in which the Director of Public Prosecutions successfully challenged the jurisdiction of Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court to entertain the plea-taking of Molly’s co-accused persons. Molly, along with her daughters Patricia Kakwanza and Martha Nkwanzi, faces charges of murder and destroying evidence, respectively.
Additionally, Amanyire George (a shamba boy) and Charles Otai (a health worker) are accused of being accessories to murder. According to the Prosecution, Henry Katanga was allegedly shot dead by Molly on November 2nd, 2023.
The daughters, Nkwanzi and Kakwanzi, are accused of tampering with evidence, making it unidentifiable for judicial proceedings.
Amanyire and Otai allegedly assisted others involved in the crime. Evidence presented to the court indicates that Molly and the deceased had four children, including the daughters involved in the trial. The deceased expressed concerns about his safety before his death, fearing he was being tracked by his wife. He had taken precautions such as changing phone passwords and acquiring a new private telephone line.
The Prosecution asserts that Molly and the deceased had dinner together on November 1st, 2023, but the next day, only Molly was found in their bedroom. A loud blast was heard, leading to the discovery of blood in the bedroom. Molly was seen standing in the doorway. Subsequently, Nkwanzi and Kakwanzi arrived, and the latter drove Molly to Bugolobi Medical Center.
“A5 not believing, A3’s response by calling the telephone number of the deceased to find out whether he was okay but instead Nkwanzi confronted him with the deceased’s phone in her hand and questioned A5 ‘s actions of calling the deceased’s phone as opposed to cleaning the blood as instructed,” reads a narration in the committal papers.
The documents further allege that all accused persons, except Amanyire, returned home, closed themselves in the master bedroom, and later allowed him inside. They instructed him to lift the deceased’s body onto a small mattress before Otai called the police to report a suicide case.
The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) plans to rely on postmortem reports, forensic analyses, phone printouts, and scene-of-crime reports as evidence in court.
The prosecution argues that Molly’s DNA was found on the trigger, and the cartridges matched the pistol recovered at the scene. The DPP contends that there is no valid defense for the accused persons, and they should be convicted as charged. Once found guilty of murder, the highest punishment for murder is also death.