KAMPALA. The General Court martial on Thursday dismissed an application by former UPDF commander in Somalia Col Hassan Kimbowa in which he was seeking one of the investigators to be his defence witness.
Col Kimbowa contended that Maj Fredrick Kangwamu, who investigated the case, should appear before the court as a defence witness. But the court chairman, MajGen Levy Karuhanga, rejected his request, saying doing so would disqualify Kangwamu from prosecuting the case.
“The application is accordingly not only belated but contravenes the rules of procedure and regulations of the Uganda peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF),” Maj Gen Karuhanga said.
Col Kimbowa also sought to summon a UN coordinator in Somalia claiming there was need for him to guide court on the allegation that the accused issued and used fuel without his (UN coordinator) permission.
“A UN coordinator being an employee of an international organisation is a diplomatic agent under the international law. He cannot give evidence in the courts of the receiving state,” Gen Karuhanga ruled.
Meanwhile, the army court set January 6 next year for hearing of Col Kimbowa’s defence.
Col Kimbowa, a former commander of Battle Group XI under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) based at Masilla, Somalia, is charged with seven counts of giving fuel to Somali nationals contrary to the UN rules which prohibit giving out of Amisom operations materials to a third party.
He is accused of inappropriate conduct for allegedly selling 5,800 litres of diesel to third parties contrary to Amisom rules.
According to court records, Col Kimbowa did not deny selling fuel to Somali nationals but gave reasons to justify his actions. Col Kimbowa is one of the several senior UPDF officers on trial on diverse charges relating to the Somalia military operations.
Others on remand at Makindye Military Prison include former contingent commander, Brig Michael Ondoga, former Battle Group commander, Lt Col Benson Olanya and the former information officer Lt Col Sam Kirya.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor