KATANGA TRIAL: Third prosecution witness changes statements in court

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KAMPALA — The prosecution’s case against Molly Katanga suffered a significant blow on Wednesday, July 10 as the third witness, police officer ASP Peter Ogwang, changed his story about the events of November 2, 2023.

Samali Wakooli, the lead prosecutor, had called Ogwang, the Officer in Charge of Bugolobi Police Station to testify against Mrs. Katanga, but the witness’s contradictions and omissions have created doubts about his credibility and the reliability of the testimony, defence lawyers pointed out.

Ogwang testified that he received a phone call from Dr. Otai, informing him of a suicide by shooting at the scene. He also stated that Patricia, who was present at the scene, wanted to report the incident as an accident.

However, during cross-examination by defense lawyer MacDosman Kabega, Ogwang contradicted his earlier statement, saying he didn’t record Patricia’s statement about reporting the incident as an accident in his initial statement.

Kabega pressed Ogwang to explain the discrepancy, and the witness admitted that he might have forgotten to record some details.

“I received a phone call from Dr. Otai, informing me of a suicide by shooting at the scene,” Ogwang initially testified. However, during cross-examination by defense lawyer Kabega, Owang contradicted his earlier statement, saying “I didn’t record Patricia’s statement about reporting the incident as an accident in my initial statement.”

Kabega pointed out that Ogwang’s statement, made two days after the incident, omitted crucial information, including Martha Kakwanza’s presence at the scene.

The witness’s changes in story have created doubts about the prosecution’s case, potentially weakening their argument against Katanga. “The witness’s testimony is unreliable,” Kabega argued. “They have changed their story multiple times, and their statement is full of contradictions.”

The witness’s change in statements raised questions about the reliability of his testimony and the investigation. The defense team pointed out these inconsistencies to build their argument that the witness was not credible.

Ogwang stated that on the fateful day of November 2, 2023, at about 9 am, he received a call from Dr. Charles Otai, who informed him that there was an incident of suicide by shooting at a home in Mbuya and that he needed the police to take over.

Ogwang told the court that he went to the home and found the police’s liaison officer, Samuel Musede, guarding the scene.

He found Henry Katanga’s body lying on a new mattress and covered with a bedsheet. He also noticed a lot of blood in the room and a black pistol placed on the bed.

Ogwang said he called Detective Superintendent of Police Bibian Akong, who went to the home with a team of homicide officers, including a Scenes of Crime officer.

However, during cross-examination, it was established that some accounts of his oral testimony were not included in a written statement he recorded on November 6, 2023.

The presiding judge, Isaac Muwata, allowed the witness’s police statement to be admitted as defense exhibit D3, potentially weakening the prosecution’s case.

The prosecution, however, maintained that the witness’s statements were genuine and that any discrepancies were minor.

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