The former security minister who has been on remand at Luzira prison since the 18th of March has been released by Justice Wilson Kwesiga after reviewing his earlier tough bail conditions he had issued.
In the review, Justice Kwesiga has now accepted his sureties including his wife Stellah Tumukunde, brother in-law Hannington Karuhanga and family friend Matthew Rukikaire as substantial sureties .
Justice Kwesiga has now ordered that Tumukunde signs a 50 million shillings non cash bail, deposit his passport in court and has also ordered his sureties to execute a non cash bond of 50 million shillings and make sure that he returns to court when needed.
The judge had first ordered Tumukunde to produce at least two serving army officers at his rank or above his rank approved by the chief of defense forces to stand surety for him.
However, Tumukunde filed an application seeking a review of the said conditions saying as a retired soldier who is charged with treason, he was not able to find a serving army officer at his rank or above who would be willing to stand surety for him and that by law, it did not apply to him.
And today, Justice Kwesiga was in agreement with Tumukunde and ruled that given the nature of the offense he is a charged with, no Military officer of his rank or above either retired or not was or is willing to associate with him.
Justice Kwesiga has also ruled that the said bail terms be applied before city hall Magistrate court where Tumukunde is charged with offenses of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
On the 4th of this month, Gen.Tumukunde's wife petitioned the high court seeking a review of the tough bail conditions that were issued by Justice Kwesiga if he is to be granted bail.
Some of the conditions he challenged included an order that Gen.Tumukunde must at least presents two sureties who are serving army officers at his rank or above his rank with an introduction letter from the chief of Defense forces to stand for him yet he is a retired army officer not subject to military law or otherwise.
Other conditions challenged included; Tumukunde to reconsider re applying for bail 30 days after the country wide ongoing lock down, allow him to represent a duplicate certificate of his residence at plot 12 Kololo hill drive and finally grant him bail pending trial.
According to his Wife Stella Tumukunde, , the said conditions made it practically impossible for Gen.Tumukunde to realize bail and high court should squash them and grant her husband bail immediately pending trial and determination of his case.
She stated that all military officers at Rtd. Gen.Tumukunde's rank or above his rank are serving in the Government of Uganda either in the UPDF or in other government positions and can not be allowed to stand surety for him on alleged charge of treason.
She further stated that Gen.Tumukunde had already substantial sureties presented to court including herself, his brother in-law Hannington Karuhanga, his friend Mathew Rukikaire that are substantial sureties.
She also challenged the one month extension given to state to complete their investigations after lifting of the ongoing lock down before Gen.Tumukunde re applies for bail claiming that its not certain when the lock down will end and that police is not affected by the lock down since they are among the listed essential service providers who continue to operate their daily duties including the investigations and can access the alleged witnesses even in the ongoing lock down.
She adds that the suspect cannot interfere in any ongoing investigations since the particulars of the alleged offense is clear including the talk show on which he allegedly made the statement, the date and time and the television and police extracted the said video footage.
Through their lawyers of Tumusiime, Kabega and company advocates , Wameeli company advocates, Stella Tumukunde then asked the high court to review the said conditions and immediately grant her husband bail since he is resumed innocent until proved guilty and also the fact that applying for bail is his constitutional right on top of being a retired army officer who is not subject to military law .
On the 14th of April, Justice Wilson Kwesiga declined to grant Tumukunde's bail application.
He was in agreement with State that completion of their investigations have been affected by the ongoing lock down due to COVID-19 and that if Tumukunde's is released, he is likely to interfere with the ingoing Investigations.
He however, gave state one month from to complete the said investigations so as to reconsider, Gen.Tumukunde's bail.
Justice Kwesiga also found Tumukunde's sureties including his wife Stella Tumukunde, his son, FDCs vice president Salamu Musumba and former army commander Gen.Mugisha Muntu not substantial.
He ordered that Tumukunde provides at least two serving senior Army officers above his rank who have the abilities to prevail over him and compel him to adhere to the bail set conditions including compelling him to report back to court when needed.
Justice Kwesiga explained that in previous instances, the courts of law have been humiliated by granting senior police officers like Gen.Tumukunde bail only for such senior army officers to defy the said bail conditions including reporting back to court yet the sureties that stood for them could not compel them to report back to court.
He then advised state to complete their investigations especially evidence that they think Tumukunde will have influence over if granted bail and also advised the applicant to avail court with substantial suruties that can compel him to return back to court if granted bail.
However, justice Kwesiga did agree with the defense that Tumukunde is of an advanced age of 61 which is an exceptional circumstance for granting of bail despite being charged with a capital offence, has a fixed place of abode and the presumption of innocence until proved guilty among other grounds.
On the 8th of this month, state asked court to deny Tumukunde bail on grounds that he is likely to interfere with the ongoing investigations.
According to an affidavit that was sworn in by the investigating officer SP Richard Mugwisagye, from the CID, Gen.Tumukunde is a former minister of security who might use his influence to interfere with investigations,on top of him being a former director if ISO, commander of the 4th Division of the army in Gulu and recently retired senior army officer.
State further claims that the suspect is charged with a capital offence of treason which upon conviction carries a maximum punishment of death, and that he is likely to abscond from bail if granted to him by court.
The Rtd lt. Gen.filed his bail application on the 20th of March after being remanded to luzira prison on treason charges on the 18th March by city hall court
Prosecution states that on the 5th of March 2020 while appearing on a morning show at one of the local Tv stations in Kamwokya, the Rt. Lt Gen made utterances which were calculated to instigated the Republic of Rwanda to invade Uganda and cause a unlawful change of government.
He also face other 4 counts of unlawful possession of firearms.
Prosecution states that on March 13th 2020 at his office Impala Avenue in Kololo,was found in possession of 2 guns; an Ak47 and a pistol and 34 rounds of ammunitions without a valid firearm licence.