July 24, 2013

NEBANDA DEATH: State Sums Up Dr Onzivua Case

The prosecution on Tuesday made final submissions in its case against Dr Sylvester Onzivua, who is accused of attempting to take the body samples of former Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda to South Africa.

Dr Onzivua
Suspended Mulago Hospital pathologist Dr Sylvester Onzivua. Court will deliver judgement on his case in September

Onzivua, the suspended Mulago Hospital pathologist, allegedly tried to establish the cause of Nebanda’s death without permission.

The prosecution led by state attorney Martin Rukundo produced seven witnesses including Mulago hospital director, Dr Byarugaba Baterana, to try to prove the case against the interdicted pathologist.

Dr Onzivua is jointly charged with Kinkizi East MP Dr Chris Baryomunsi on another charge of conspiracy to commit a felony.

Dr Onzivua also faces a separate charge of abuse of office. They both deny the charges.
The matter is being heard by Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, Olive Kazaarwe.

Dr Onzivua was arrested in December 2012 at Entebbe Airport as he tried to fly to South Africa with body samples of late Nebanda, who died under unclear circumstances on the evening of December 14. He had been facilitated by Parliament to fly the samples to South Africa to establish the actual cause of her death since they didn’t have much trust in Uganda’s hospitals.

Following the summing up of the prosecution’s case, a host of defense lawyers led by David Mpanga informed the court that they intended to submit on a ‘no case to answer’.

Fallen Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda whose death caused quite a stir
Fallen Butaleja Woman MP Cerinah Nebanda whose death caused quite a stir

The defense lawyers contend that the prosecution has miserably failed to make out their case against their clients and that they should be acquitted without defending themselves.

Subsequently, the court set August 7 when the defense lawyers are expected to file in their written submissions with the state expected to put in their reply on August 16.

Court will then deliver its ruling on the matter on September 3. In this ruling, the court will establish basing on the evidence by the witnesses whether or not prosecution has made a prema facie case against the suspects.

If the prosecution has made out a prema facie case, then the suspects will be required to defend themselves before the final judgment is passed. On the contrary, court will acquit them if a prema facie case has not been established against them.

Prosecution alleges that on December 15 last year at Mulago Hospital mortuary, Dr Onzivua, Dr Baryomunsi and others still at large, conspired and unlawfully obtained Nebanda’s body samples and attempted to take them to South Africa without permission.

Dr Onzivua was arrested shortly after. His arrest was almost at the same time with that of Dr. Chris Baryomunsi and Kampala Central MP Mohammed Nsereko following the controversy that marred the death of the MP.

MP Nsereko was charged in Tororo over the remarks he made at the burial of the late Nebanda in Butaleja.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi (L) and Onzivua were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony
Doctors Chris Baryomunsi (L) and Onzivua. The two were jointly charged with conspiracy to commit a felony

Nebanda passed away at Mukwaya General Clinic in Nsambya after her boyfriend, Adam Kalungi, dropped her at the health facility and ran away.

According to the government report, the deceased’s death was linked to narcotic drugs and alcohol.

Kalungi and five others have since been charged in connection with supplying narcotic drugs to the MP at Makindye court. The hearing of the matter is still ongoing.

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