High Court sentences man to 20 years for murdering colleague

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KAMPALA. In 2013, Levi Bogere’s family bade him goodbye as he left for his workplace in Busitema forest, Busia District, not knowing that it was the last time they were seeing him alive.
In the evening, Bogere’s family waited for him to return from his logging work in vain. Bogere’s wife went to his father’s home and inquired whether he had retired there.
Bogere’s father, Erifasani Samanya, said Bogere had not visited him. Samanya instructed Bogere’s brothers to go to help their sister-in-law look for him.

Bogere being a young man in his 20s, there was a belief that he may have spent an evening at the home of another woman.
Basing on that, the family members didn’t inform the police that Bogere was missing.
When Bogere failed to appear at midnight or communicated to his family and friends about his whereabouts, his family became distressed.
Nevertheless, they decided to retire at home.
When he failed to return in the morning, his family informed the village leaders and a search for him was mounted.
Bogere’s wife said she last saw him in the company of Wicliff Mangeni.

Mangeni admitted to visiting Bogere and having a conversation with him before heading to his workplace in Busitema forest where Bogere also worked.
He, however, denied having a hand in Bogere’s disappearance.

When relatives of Bogere fail to find him after

When relatives of Bogere fail to find him after searching the village, they go to Mageni’s workplace in the forest and compel him and his colleagues to join the search for Bogere in the forest.

After several hours of searching for Bogere bore in the village no fruit, Samanya and his sons went to Mangeni’s workplace in the forest and pressured him to tell them the place in the forest where he last saw Bogere.
Mangeni and colleagues cooperated and they joined the searched for Bogere in the forest.
A few hours later, they found his lifeless body lying on the ground in the forest.

Bogere’s body had dried blood around the nose and mouth. The scene didn’t show any sign of struggle, which would be an indication that he was attacked. None of his belongings had been taken.
The first suspicion that came to the mind of the group was that Bogere could have been killed by lightning during a downpour the previous day.
Samanya and his sons left the body under the protection of Mangeni and his colleagues and they went to police to report the case.

At Busia Police Station, Charles Lukwago took on the case and led a team of officers to the scene of crime.
The police team and Bogere’s family were in shock when they returned only to find the body had been abandoned at the scene by Mangeni and his colleagues.

Lukwago’s team examined the scene. It had been tampered with making it hard for experts to pick any vital evidence that could help them understand the last moments of the deceased.
They took the body to the hospital for a postmortem.
The abandonment of Bogere’s body by Mangeni and his colleagues angered his father and brothers and increased their suspicion that he was involved in Bogere’s death.
Samanya told the police that Mangeni was one of the people the deceased was last seen with and he had led them to the place where they found the deceased.

Bogere’s body is discovered lying on the ground

Bogere’s body is discovered lying on the ground in the forest and Mangeni is asked to keep it while his relatives go to report the case to the police. However, he flees and goes into hiding.

Lukwago didn’t take Samanya’s word lightly.
He sought to interrogate Mangeni and his colleagues but they were nowhere to be found.

To the villagers, Samanya’s testimony was enough evidence linking Mangeni to the death of Bogere and an angry group of villagers mounted a search for him.
Lukwago had retired to his station when he was informed that the villagers had detained Mangeni and were about to lynch him.
Police officers rushed to the scene and saved him from the mob that had beaten him severely.
At the police station, Mangeni swore that he had nothing to do with Bogere’s death.
By evening, the postmortem results were released showing that Bogere had been hit with a blunt object, causing his death.

In his statement to the police, Samanya said the wife of the deceased informed him that she saw the deceased with Mangeni the day he disappeared.

Jackson Wejuli, a resident of the area, told the police that after the disappearance of Bogere, he overheard Mangeni tell Bogere’s wife that if her husband did not return, she should get another man to marry her.
To detective Lukwago, the statement could not have been a coincidence.
After interrogating several other villagers and gathering evidence, police forwarded the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions and a murder charge was sanctioned against Mangeni.
Mangeni was produced in court and remanded. In the High Court, Mangeni denied killing Bogere, saying he was not even at the scene where Bogere was killed on the fateful day.

The prosecutor presented five witnesses, including the father of the deceased, who claimed that Mangeni led them to the place where they found the body of the deceased, which made him culpable.
Mangeni defended himself, saying he did not run away from the scene when he was left to keep Bogere’s body, but he had gone to check on his bicycle which he said he had left near the main road.
After each party gave its side of the story, Justice Henry Kawesa made his judgment.

Bogere’s body is discovered lying on the ground

Bogere’s body is discovered lying on the ground in the forest and Mangeni is asked to keep it while his relatives go to report the case to the police. However, he flees and goes into hiding.

“I have already found that evidence of Samanya and Wejuli establishes that in collecting the deceased from his home, and then coming back to the home to relay a message to the wife ‘to find another husband’ motive was duly established,” Justice Kawesa ruled on May 25, 2017.

Justice Kawesa said: “The evidence of the prosecution sufficiently places the accused on the scene, basing on the principle of the criminal law principle of ‘motive, preparation and conduct’.”
“It is the assessors’ opinion that this accused person is liable. They have advised this court to convict the accused. I do agree with their opinion. All in all I find that the prosecution has proved the charge beyond all doubt. Accused is found guilty of murder and is accordingly convicted,” Justice Henry Kawesa said.
Mangeni was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the murder of Bogere.

For a detective to successfully investigate a murder case like the one of Levi Bogere, he or she needs a minimum of Shs2.1m. There are more than 50,000 capital offences that police register annually, which means they will need more than Shs105b to investigate such cases. However, CID only got Shs34b to investigate all cases. With this limited budget, many cases of Bogere’s nature cannot be investigated.

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