Court Hits Gridlock In Plea Bargain with Confessed Killer

2202 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
Lotee told investigators that Paul Komarem alias Ssebaggala contracted him at a cost of 4.5 million Shillings to kill Eritoi. He confessed that he shot the deceased twice in the chest, as he returned home on the fateful day. Lotee also disclosed that the gun which was used in the mission was hired at 600,000 Shillings from Emmanuel Lochan, an officer attached to the Local Defense Unit detach in Kambizi.

High Court has hit a gridlock in a case of murder filed against Akudo Lotee, 25, a man suspected of killing Raphael Eritoi, a politician in Nadunget-Karamoja, two years ago.

Eritoi, an aspirant for the Nadunget LCV councillor's seat was shot dead on October 1, 2015, at Kambisi village, along Moroto-Kitale road in Karamoja sub-region. The deceased was a key campaign agent for the former Matheniko County MP, Samuel Abura Pirir.

Subsequent investigations pointed to Lotee, who confessed to the crime and led police to arrest five accomplices in the murder. They included Lokiru Ilukol, Paul Komarem alias Ssebaggala, Lotyang Peter, Lochan Emmanuel, and Paul Ngole, all residents of Loputuk village, Nadunget sub-county in Moroto district.

Lotee later told investigators that Paul Komarem alias Ssebaggala contracted him at a cost of 4.5 million Shillings to kill Eritoi. He confessed that he shot the deceased twice in the chest, as he returned home on the fateful day. Lotee also disclosed that the gun which was used in the 'mission' was hired at 600,000 Shillings from Emmanuel Lochan, an officer attached to the Local Defense Unit detach in Kambizi.

However, he has since been on remand. At the beginning of High Court session in Moroto on August 14, relatives and friends of the late Raphael Eritoi threatened to demonstrate at the Moroto court after learning that Eritoi's case was not on the cause list.

They were concerned that since one suspect had admitted to his crime, there was no need to keep him on remand without sentence. He was subsequently brought before the High Court presided over by Justice Stephen Mubiru on Thursday evening for a possible plea bargain.

Under the Plea Bargain program, an accused person agrees with a prosecutor to plead guilty to an offence in exchange for a lesser sentence. The procedure also enables an accused person to negotiate for a lesser offence or to be turned into a prosecution witness against other accused persons.

But the process was halted when Akudo said that he was only admitting to one out of five counts slapped against him.  The presiding judge Stephen Mubiru observed that plea bargain is only possible if the accused person admits to all the charges. He adjourned the case to the next high court session, whose dates are not yet set.
 
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Defence lawyer Bruna Acham says her client will have to wait for the full trial since he can't admit to crimes he has not committed. She urged the deceased's relatives to remain calm and allow justice to prevail.
 
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Early this year, Loote wrote to Moroto Chief Magistrate's Court asking the court to compel Ssebaggala, the man who hired him for the mission to clear his balance of 4 million Shillings. Lotee said the money would help his family during the time of his detention.
 

 

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