2 UPDF Soldiers Dismissed For Sale Of Gun

Two Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces UPDF soldiers have been jailed for six years and dismissed with disgrace on charges of improper disposal of property in Moroto district.

Under guard- (L-R) Pte Charles Mugisha, Lcpl Moses Balayo and Karim Maruti after appearing before the court martial in Moroto.
Under guard- (L-R) Pte Charles Mugisha, Lcpl Moses Balayo and Karim Maruti after appearing before the court martial in Moroto.

The UPDF 3rd Division Court Martial sitting in Moroto on Thursday found Lance Corporals Moses Balayo and Jackson Mugisha guilty of illegally selling a gun.

The pair, whose army service numbers are RA 161819 and RA 165946 respectively, will each serve six years at Namalu Central Government Prison before returning to their ancestral villages.

Col. John Tumwebaze, the chairperson of the UPDF 3rd Division Court Martial in his ruling said the sentence would serve as a deterrent to the rest of the soldiers serving across the country.

Court heard that the accused persons were not remorseful, after they uttered lies about their involvement in the sale of an AK-47 rifle. Col Tumwebaze said the two were dangerous people who should be permanently removed from the defence forces. He however, offered them a right to appeal against the sentence within 14 days.

Section 162 of the UPDF Act 2005 provides up to seven years in jail for a person subject to military law who willfully damages by neglect, improperly sells or wastefully expends any property of the army or forces cooperating with the army or contributed by members of the army further use or. The same sentence goes to those who willfully destroy or damage public or private property, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding seven year.

The Court Martial also handed a four-year jail sentence to Karim Maruti, a resident of Sironko Town Council who was found guilty of unlawful possession of firearms. The Court Martial Chairperson is his ruling said the punishment will send a signal to other civilians to desist from involving themselves in such criminal acts.

This is not the first time soldiers are selling guns. A UPDF Private Onan Mwijukye was found guilty by the Masaka Armoured Brigade Unit disciplinary committee after he broke into Kasajagirwa Armoury last March.  A Police Officer attached to Naguru barracks was also arrested selling two guns and unspecified number of ammunitions in Kayunga district in January this year.

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