By Ambrose Kweronda
Magistrate’s Court in Ntungamo has today acquitted the State Minister for Labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana of all charges stemming from a shooting incident in Ntungamo during the NRM primaries last year.
Rukutana was arrested and detained after he allegedly shot and injured Daniel Rweiburingi and also damaged a motor vehicle in a brawl related to violence during the NRM primaries
He was later arraigned in court and charges of attempted murder, assault, malicious damage to property, and threatening violence slapped against him.
However, on Friday, the Ntungamo magistrate’s court ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that the former deputy Attorney General was involved in the said violence.
“From the evidence, it is very clear that at the second scene the victims were attacked by unidentified occupants of a minibus. There is no cogent evidence whatsoever showing that the accused appeared at this scene and in the light of the grave inconsistencies and contradictions in the prosecution evidence, this court finds the evidence of the witnesses a mere fabrication,” the acting Chief Magistrate Gordon Tumuhimbise ruled.
“From the above, I find that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove all the ingredients of the offence of attempted murder against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and the accused should be acquitted of that offence.”
Rukutana was also accused of malicious damage of a motor vehicle, Toyota Rav4, registration number UAQ 840X during the scuffle.
However, the trial magistrate watered down the evidence arguing that one of the witnesses failed to prove how he acquired the vehicle.
According to the magistrate, in his defence, Minister Rukutana said the damaged vehicle belonged to another person, and not Moses Muhumuza who had been presented as a witness.
“It is very clear that this vehicle left the first scene where they met the accused intact. During his defence, the accused stated that he never appeared on the second scene where this violence occurred. I, therefore, find that prosecution has not proved all the ingredients of this offence against the accused beyond reasonable doubt and the accused should be acquitted of this offence.”
The magistrate also acquitted Rukutana of charges related to threatening violence saying there was no evidence to prove the same.
“On the whole, I find the evidence adduced by the prosecution against the accused on all the seven counts full of concoctions, falsehoods and grave inconsistencies. It is full of nothing but naked lies that no reasonable tribunal or court can convict basing on it,” the magistrate said.
On the other hand, he said that Rukutana’s defence evidence was consistent and well corroborated as well as being believable.
“In the circumstances, I find that the prosecution has not proved any of these charges against the accused beyond reasonable doubt as required by law. I, therefore, find the accused not guilty of all the charges and I do hereby acquit him on all the seven counts.”
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