Court Martial Dismisses Officer From Army

2027 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
In his judgment, Gen. Gutti concurred with the prosecution, saying Ochieng should have served as an example to his juniors but decided to act to the contrary.

The Uganda People's Defense Forces-UPDF General Court martial has dismissed Lt. William Abdul Ochieng from the force for failing to protect war material. The General Court Martial Chairman, Lt. General Andrew Gutti delivered the verdict on Tuesday.

The military court sitting in Makindye found Lt. Ochieng guilty of selling 1,314 bullets to Abdul Shakul Fattah, a Somali insurgent during his tour of duty under AMISOM with Battle Group 16. In his judgment, Gen. Gutti concurred with the prosecution, saying Ochieng should have served as an example to his juniors but decided to act to the contrary. 




Details of the case are that while on tour of duty in Somalia, Lt. Ochieng sold 1,314 bullets to Abdul Fatah, a Somali national at US$ 800 at Balawe town on June 11th, 2015. Prosecution led by Major Raphael Mugisha presented eight witnesses who pinned the accused officer.

 
The officers told court that they left their camp on the said date to go and charge their batteries. They explained that Lt. Ochieng decided to follow them while carrying a black bag containing the said bullets but disappeared along the way. 



He was arrested upon his return to the barracks after his colleagues reported that he had moved on non-official business without authorisation. Mugisha told court that it was later established that Ochieng had sold ammunition to Abdul Shakur Fatah, a Somali. 



He was immediately extradited to Uganda for prosecution. Mugisha asked court to give Lt. Ochieng a harsh for the crime he had committed despite his rank.
 
 
However, Ochieng's lawyer retired Captain Brian Mwoogi asked court to give the convict a lighter sentence, saying he is a first time offender and has a young family to look after. Ochieng, who described the verdict as unfair, said he will not appeal. 


//Cue in: "The judgment was…
Cue out: …with my family".//
 

In August 2016, the UPDF 3rd Division court martial sentenced Private Stephen Anguria, who was attached to Moroto barracks to ten years imprisonment and dismissed him from the arm with disgrace for failure to protect war material.

 
Prosecution told court that on November 18, 2015 while on duty in Amudat district, the accused hired out his rifle with 13 rounds of ammunition to a criminal gang contrary to section 122 of the UPDF Act 2005.
 
Section 122 of the UPDF Act stipulates that any person who fails to protect war tools, misuses or hires out and found guilty of the offense, is liable to death on conviction.