Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Sarah Tusiime has remanded to Luzira Prison Ivan Wabwire, a police officer accused of murdering an Indian money lender in Kampala.
Wabwire appeared before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, facing charges of murder. According to the prosecution, on May 12, 2023, at Raja Chambers along Parliament Avenue in Kampala District, Wabwire intentionally and unlawfully killed Uttam Bhandari Saremal, an Indian national.
Bhandari, the director of TFS Financial Services, which provided loans to police officers and the public, tragically lost his life when Wabwire shot him multiple times following an altercation at Raja Chambers in Kampala.
Previously, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango revealed that Wabwire had been diagnosed with a mental illness six years ago, leading to a decision not to deploy him with a firearm or in situations requiring the use of a weapon.
However, Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga recently stated that Wabwire had been assessed by police surgeons and deemed mentally fit, indicating that he acted with full consciousness and awareness before committing the act. This development has paved the way for his trial.
During the court proceedings, Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Sarah Tusiime declined to allow Wabwire to enter a plea due to the capital nature of the charges, indicating that the case would be heard by the High Court. However, Wabwire acknowledged that he fully understood the charges against him.
The prosecution, led by Joan Keko and Ivan Kyazze, informed the court that investigations into the case were in the advanced stages.
Further details emerged, revealing that Wabwire had obtained two loans from TFS, totaling 1 million shillings, with an interest rate of 320,000 shillings over a 12-month period.
He defaulted on the second loan, and at the time of the shooting, Wabwire had reportedly gone to inquire about a quotation to transfer the loan to an undisclosed bank. After the incident, he returned the weapon used in the crime to the Central Police Station before fleeing to Busia, near the Kenyan border, where he was apprehended over the weekend.
According to Onyango, Wabwire utilized a firearm that had been allocated to his colleague, Constable Steven Muromba, to commit the crime. Muromba had left the gun at their shared residence to attend to his ill child.
However, Enanga stated that Muromba, who was arrested and detained at the former Special Investigations Unit in Kireka, has since been dismissed from the force and will face charges of negligence in the Criminal Court.
Wabwire will remain in Luzira Prison until June 7, 2023, when his case will be mentioned. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.