How to Kill a Business the Ugandan Way

Hearing resumed, advice information pills of the appeal in which Kampala businessman Tom Nkurungira (Tonku) seeks court to overturn the death penalty handed to him for murdering his girlfriend Brenda Karamuzi in 2010.

In his submission to the panel of 3 judges Augustus Nshimye, see Eldad  Mwangusya and Kenneth Kakuru, viagra sale Tonku through his lawyers led by Benson Tusasirwe, Tonku said it was wrong for the High Court to convict him basing on just substantial evidence.

According to Tusasirwe, there was no evidence directly proving that Karamuzi had been killed by his lover, Tonku .

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“Evidence failed below the required standards to prove that Tonku was guilty because it didn’t put him on the scene of crime on the fateful day but rather riddled on doubts which we can’t go by,” Tusasirwe noted.

Tonku’s lawyers argued that the circumstantial evidence relied on by the trial judge could not be used to convict him because there was no proof he was at home at the time of death.

“It’s not in dispute that she was staying at Tonku’s home and her body was recovered from the septic tank but there is no evidence to prove he killed her. Her bag and other belongings being found in the ceiling of the house and the fact that she died in the house that they both lived in, was not evidence enough to prove that he participated in the murder.”

The lawyers added, “It was proved he could come home late and leave very early in the morning, how could he have killed her? Why not the shamba boy who after investigation was found in possession of the deceased’s property including her phone? Even if Karamuzi died in Tonku’s house, the prime suspect would be the shamba boy Fred Ssempijja.”

Tonku consults his lawyers

Tonku consults his lawyers

According to Tonku’s lawyers, the motive behind the Shamba boy’ s act of killing Karamuzi could probably have been to take her property some of which according to the lawyers was found with him.

The lawyers further argued that even though he was the owner of the house, Tonku was not in position to know that his lover had been killed and therefore continued living in the house normally adding that he was not a permanent resident but could come and leave.

“In his evidence, the Shamba boy admitted having used the deceased’s phone to send himself money and therefore ought to have known how she had died.”

On the hoe and metallic object found in the pit latrine, Tonku’s lawyers argued that the facility was at the time being used by the Shamba boy as he (Tonku) had 2 toilets inside the house.

“It appears the evidence was planted and there is doubt Tonku killed her but rather the Shamba boy. How could he kill the person who was living in his house and leave blood stain for 10 days plus clothes in the ceiling? How could he (Tonku) put the body in the septic tank and leave all other property including cushions and the wall with blood stains?” Tusasirwe wondered.

In his judgment, Justice Albert Rugadya Atwooki observed that Karamuzi might have been killed between 22 and23 January 2010. However in is submission, Tusasirwe noted that this evidence should not have been relied on by the trial judge and convict Tonku arguing that on the following day (23, January,2010) he brought home a visitor ,sat in the house and watched TV but saw no blood stain on the walls and cushions.

“Karamuzi could have been killed from out and the body brought into the apartment. The circumstances leading to the death therefore could not have led to Tonku killing her but left open other possibilities that could have led  to the death.”

Date of Death

Nkurungira’ s lawyers argued that the time as quoted by the trial judge of between 7pm on 22 and 8:45am on 23 January ,2010 as the date that Karamuzi might have been killed could not put him directly liable for the death.

The lawyers explained that basing on phone print -outs Tonku made a number of phone calls which according to them, the trial judge concluded that he must have been at his home  but stressed that the same evidence showed that the base station(mast) used was from Kkonge which they say was not the nearest.

“There were other base stations at Mutungo-Bbiina1, Buziga1 and Luzira Port bell but how come the phone showed Kkonge, which was a new one and was not the strongest? It was therefore not proved he was at his home at the time of death.”

“It appears the state was hell bent on convicting him and in doing so they neglected the useful evidence in the matter as what they submitted was weak in all spheres. Both the conviction and sentence should therefore be squashed and if not the sentence should be lighter,” the lawyers advised.

State Dismisses Tonku’s Earlier Submissions

However, Prosecution led by Senior State Attorney Jane Okuo in their submission noted that all facts had been relied on by the trial judge before convicting Nkurungira.

“Evidence by the Scenes of Crime Officers proved that blood stains had been found in his house, on the walls, carpet and cushions and on analysis at the laboratory it was found out that it belonged to Karamuzi,” Okuo noted.

“There was blood all over the house but he didn’t care and lived as if life was normal yet he wants us to believe the shamba boy was responsible. There was clear evidence of abuse of trust by Nkurungira in the brutal manner his lover was killed.”

“On 23, January, 2010, he found out that Karamuzi was not in the house but he never asked the shamba boy where he had gone considering that she was not answering her phone calls. That could have put him on alert that something was not right but he never cared,” Okuo wondered.

The government lawyer argued that Tonku was directly involved in the murder of Brenda Karamuzi adding that the court should find his conviction standing for what he did.

The panel of judges revealed that they would give their judgment on notice.
We complain a lot about foreigners taking away our jobs and businesses and at times we fail to realize that we are our own enemies.

I was at Village Mall in Bugolobi for a meeting over cup of tea and I went to the food court at the first floor.

The Village mall is a beautiful place. It is one of those places where you feel you are in an exclusive mall in the developed countries.

Whoever is the owner, prostate the idea was wonderful and I am sure he is making lots of money. But he should be worried by my story; it could affect him in the long run.

I went to the food court and it has various food stalls; which is both an advantage and also a problem. I have been there before and on some occasion you may sit there and nobody comes to you and other occasions, several waiters from the different stalls all come to you at once.

On this fateful day, a waitress came and I ordered for English tea (the more reason why we are dominated by the foreigners because I am talking about English tea and yet this tea is grown here in Nakigala farm on Entebbe road and the water is from Lake Victoria, the sugar from Kakira and the milk from the late Mulwan’s farm).

The tea was served and I enjoyed it. The person I was meeting arrived and asked for spiced black tea. As we finished the meeting, we requested for the bill.

Two bills were brought and it was clear that both had been tampered with. One from Ugx 6,000 to 10,000 and another from Ugx 5,000 to 8,000. My instinct told me there was a problem with the bill. I was in a hurry so I left the challenge to the friend I was meeting.

My friend does not take things lying down. He took up matters with the authorities and actually found out that it was true the bills had been changed.

The owner of the business was very apologetic about this type of conduct and even remarked that her business was going down but she could not get an explanation for this (if her business goes down, she will leave and the owner of the mall will also lose business).

This type of behavior is characteristic of many of our businesses. You employ people and they cut the branch on which they are sitting. They steal goods from the business and the business collapses and in the long run lose their jobs.

One of the Ugandan local industrialists Mr. William Sembuya; a friend, the onetime owner of the powerful Sembule Steel Mills, Pan World Insurance and Sembule Bank lost his businesses primarily due to theft.

The press has been reporting a case of fraud in MTN (Uganda’s business company) and last week some people were sent to jail for this. Because it is not so big, it may not feel the problem at the moment.

Many people complain about losing money in big banks, of course I should not talk about Government!! The pension scandal, bicycles, OPM, the road saga, the Karuma dam problem, the new railway challenge, because this is government, government cannot run out of business but of course, it means government does not give services to its people because the money goes elsewhere.

However the consequences of our actions of the waiter on our businesses and the country’s management are multifold;

One: We cannot run businesses successfully if our stock is being stolen and therefore we give opportunity to foreigners to run businesses. After that we complain when foreigners are running businesses. Of course there are issues with that.

Two: Ugandans get into problems because business is being run by foreigners. Like it or not, attitude of many foreigners towards Ugandans regarding their work culture and ethic is negative.

Many foreigners think Ugandans do not want to work and are thieves (deal with that). For this reason, foreign owned companies are managed by foreigners even those owned by Ugandans of Asian or European origin still bring foreigners rather than Ugandans.

A man browses through pairs of Chinese made shoes in a shop, 20 June 2006 in the downtown area of  Ugandan capital Kampala: Most Foreign owned businesses are blossoming in Uganda AFP PHOTO

A man browses through pairs of Chinese made shoes in a shop, 20 June 2006 in the downtown area of Ugandan capital Kampala: Most Foreign owned businesses are blossoming in Uganda AFP PHOTO

Most unfortunate that the gates of Munyonyo Commonwealth resort are managed by Indians.  The reading is on the wall, you cannot trust a Ugandan to keep that gate.

What is interesting is that even we Ugandans do not trust ourselves. Many of us have invited Europeans or Indians and in the recent years Chinese our partners in our own businesses.

This enables us create confidence and legitimacy in our business and we also think that the business will be managed well. The theft culture creates this entire attendant problem for the country.

Three: When Foreigners run businesses successfully, we complain about it. Of course there is need to have some control over the type of business foreigners should have. Generally, foreigners owning small businesses which are the type that the Ugandans could own creates anger among local people. This is the challenge in South Africa today.

Four: How Ugandans are treated by foreigners own businesses in Uganda. Knowing our work attitude and ethic, we do not get the best treatment in most of the foreign owned companies especially for low level staff.

It is common that Ugandans are shouted and in some cases even physically abused. In many cases Ugandans are underpaid. In some factories, workers do not have rights despite the Employment Act. In other factories, people die and there is no police report and no compensation to the families.

With all these, it is no surprise therefore that poverty will stay with us for a long time. We cannot run businesses on our own to create incomes and wealth and where we work for others we are exploited.

Ugandans please style up! Nobody owes you a living and we have to work hard.

The writer is the Principle Makerere University Business School 


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