Kabale High Court Sets Final Deadline for Prosecution’s Readiness in Kisoro Indian businessman Murder

By Banabasi Kamusime

KISORO – The Kabale High Court convened in Kisoro District has urged the prosecution to promptly prepare for the plea-taking process in the case involving six suspects linked to the brutal murder of 24-year-old Indian businessman Patel Kuntaj.

The court emphasized that if the prosecution fails to meet this requirement, the case may be dismissed on grounds of justice being compromised. This legal proceeding has been rescheduled for the 14th of August 2023, within the jurisdiction of the Kabale High Court.

Reportedly, Patel Kuntaj met a tragic fate, allegedly shot in broad daylight by Corporal Gumizamo Elioda, bearing badge number 72401, who was serving as a police officer in Kisoro municipality on the 27th of October 2022.

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Presented before the high court were the six suspects involved: Hatel Patel, an individual of Indian origin; Gumizamo Elioda; Nteziyaremye Bernard; Nyabagabo Gard; Charles Nteziyaremye; and Ntibakunze Godfrey, also known as Kafero. The charges against them include murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

However, Grace Nabagala Ntenge, leading the prosecution, raised concerns about the safety of witnesses testifying from Kisoro district, where the case originated. She informed the court that prosecution had three civilian witnesses and several police officers who were part of the investigation. Some of these individuals had reportedly received threats and expressed apprehension about testifying. Ntenge also mentioned that discussions with the defense lawyers regarding pertinent documents had not yet taken place.

On the other hand, the defense team, represented by Ngaruye Ruhindi, Nabasa Rodgers, and Urban Namanya, rebuffed the prosecution’s delay, asserting that the repeated rescheduling of the matter was infringing upon the rights of the accused to a swift and impartial trial. They questioned why the plea-taking process was being postponed despite the conclusion of investigations. The defense requested that the case either be dismissed or continue in Kisoro district.

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In response, the resident Judge of the Kabale High Court circuit, Hon. Justice Samuel Emokor, appreciated the efforts of both the prosecution and defense in safeguarding the interests of their clients. He expressed concern over the prosecution’s persistent unpreparedness and inclination to seek additional time. Nonetheless, he ruled that the case would proceed in Kabale district on the 14th of August this year, marking the final adjournment.

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