Late Donah Katushabe. Inset is Muhammad Ssebuwufu

High Court has sentenced Muhammad Ssebuwufu, the proprietor of Pine Car Bond to 40 years in jail over the murder of his client, a businesswoman, Donah Katushabe.

Last week, High Court judge, Flavia Anglin Ssenoga found Ssebuwufu and seven others suspects guilty of murder, kidnap and robbing of businesswoman Katusabe as the businessman demanded Shs9 million debt that remained after the late bought a car.

In a court sentence delivered by justice Ssenoga, the group was ordered to compensate family of the late with Shs 100 million.

Earlier, Defense lawyer led by Evans Ochieng, objected to death sentence say circumstances don’t meet conduits of the rarest of the rare noting that the facts of the case don’t reveal a meticulously planned, pre-meditated action.

He asked court that being first time offenders, it would be outside of legal provisions to pass down a maximum sentence of death.

“Muhammad Ssebuwufu shouldn’t be handed a maximum sentence or very long custodial sentence because, he is married with seven children who will suffer and runs a business empire employing over 500 Ugandans who could end up unemployed,” he said before being sentenced.

Justices Ssenoga said the events may not have ended into death evidence adduced by 26 witnesses, Flavia Anglin Ssenoga ruled that the accused unlawfully picked Donah Katushabe from Bwebajja over a loan of Shs9 million before torturing her, which eventually led to her death.

One of the witnesses said he reached the crime scene and saw Ssebuwufu kicking and boxing the late Donah on the breasts and in her private parts. The convicted have however been remanded to Luzira till July 1, 2019 when they will be sentenced.

Ms Katushabe was reportedly tortured on October 21, 2015, at Pine Car Bond on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala and later killed by a group of people led by city businessman Muhammad Sebuwufu, a dealer in second hand cars and owner of Pine car bond on Lumumba Road, after the deceased failed to clear a debt of Shs9 million.

Court records indicate that Katusabe acquired a Toyota Premio registration number UAX 481H from Ssebuwufu at Sh17 million and remitted sh8 million thereby remaining with a balance of sh9 million debt with is said to have caused her murder.

The seven found guilty include; Paul Tasingika, Shaban Odutu alias Golola, Philip Mirambe, Kayiza Godfrey, Stephen Lwanga, Yoweri Kitayimbwa, and Damaseni Ssentongo.

Initially, they were battling the charges together with former Kampala Central Police Station commander, Aaron Baguma but his charges were dropped at the commencement of the trial last year.

In January last year, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today withdrawn all murder charges brought against the former Central Police Station (CPS) District Police Commander (DPC) Superintendent of Police (SP), Aaron Baguma, charged in relation to the murder of businesswoman Donah Katushabe.

In 2016 Katushabe’s relatives wrote to DPP requesting that charges against SP Baguma be dropped, owing to the support he had rendered the family of the deceased, which, among others, includes facilitating the relatives to meet the Inspector General of Police (IGP) General Kale Kayihura.