Three men thought to work for former rally driver and fish monger Ponsiano have been presented in court over possession of immature fish for the third time. Patrick Mwesigye, Friday Luke and Abdullah Mukiibi all residents of Masaka district have been presented before Chief magistrate Mary Ikit on six accounts against them.
Patrick Mwesigye, Friday Luke and Abdullah Mukiibi all residents of Masaka district have been presented before Chief magistrate Mary Ikit on six accounts against them.
The three are accused of possession of immature fish, causing grievous harm, obstructing an officer of the law from duty, carrying fish without movement permit, having no license, and travelling on water without life jackets.
Court heard that on 28th May 2014, the trio and one still at large identified as Mukasa Bbosa had immature fish worth millions of shillings from Bugoma landing site in Kalangala district. The fish was seized by fisheries officer Erias Tusiime Kagoma.
Court also heard that the impounded fish belonged to rally ace driver Ponsiano Lwakataka who is now facing murder charges in Masaka court.
Prosecution led by James Opedun presented before court the Kalangala GISO Deus Muwebya who told court that he was at the scene at the time of the impounding of the boat.
Muwebya told court that as he was standing at Bugoma landing site when the boat with the men came in at high speed. Police then moved to arrest the men and impound the fish.
Muwebya said that when police tried to stop them, they started fighting the fisheries officer whom they injured in face and other parts of the body.
Last week, Detective Sergeant Willy Kasujja attached to Kalangala police station testified in court that he recorded statements from three accused persons and pleaded innocent but did not realize that a fourth suspect had ran away.
Last week, prosecution presented stinking immature fish as an exhibit in court that was impounded from Lwakataka's men.
The fisheries officer of Kalangala Erias Tusiime Kagoma told court in his testimony that on the fateful day, his team intercepted two vessels carrying immature fish which was well packed in boxes alongside other fishing equipment.
Tusiime added that on the following day (29th May 2014), a group of about 17 men who were armed with machetes and stones stormed his office and forcefully tried to take the impounded fish and during the scuffle he was beaten up sustaining injuries on his face.
According to Tusiime, they wanted to drown him in the lake but he was saved by the timely intervention of police.
It should be remembered that the case is being heard for the second time after Masaka resident Judge Justice Kibuuka Musoke after Kalangala trial Grade One magistrate Tadeo Muinda had sentenced the suspects a fine of 10,000 shillings for each. The judges had also ordered for the release of the impounded fish together with the fishing equipment and vessels to their owners.
However State Attorney David Baxter Bakibinga challenged the rulings arguing that the trial magistrate had acted out of the law. This led to the intervention of the resident judge Justice Kibuuka Musoke ordering for the retrial of the case by Masaka Chief Magistrate Mary Ikit.
Prosecution will next week present other witnesses from Kalangala district.