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Commentary: Could witnesses in the Kanyamunyu case have been compromised by the State?

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Matthew Kanyamunyu

By Our Reporter

Perjury is a criminal act that occurs when a person lies or makes statements that are not truthful while under oath. For example, if a person is asked to testify – under oath -in a criminal proceeding but do not tell the truth, they can be charged with perjury if it is discovered that they have lied.

By committing perjury, people partake in the miscarriage of justice and corrupt the legal process. As a result, perjury is considered a very serious criminal offense, even though most people who lie under oath have never bothered to understand the law or have been coached and often times paid to lie under oath and do not consider it to be very serious.

Witnesses, including parties to a case, provide testimony to the court that the judge and assessors consider. When witnesses testify to the court, they often do so under oath. They also do so under the risk of facing criminal charges if they lie to the court.

Robert Mutebi was testifying as prosecution witness in the murder trial in which, Quantum Logistics Limited Founder and managing director Matthew Kanyamunyu, his girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari and brother Joseph Kanyamunyu are charged with the murder of Kenneth Akena.

Robert Mutebi who is a former security guard at Nakasero Hospital told court that while guarding their posts, he saw a white Land Cruiser coming in being driven by a man who was later handed a pistol and a laptop bag by Kanyamunyu.

However Kanyamunyu’s lawyer McDusman Kabega asked Mutebi how he was able to identify the pistol at night. Mutebi responded that the emergency parking of Nakasero Hospital has security lights. Not convinced McDusman Kabega retorted as to how he had managed to identify the pistol exchange and yet failed to identify a six foot tall man at an identification parade during day light staged by the police at the Kira division police station when they arrested Joseph Kanyamunyu seven days after Mathew had been arrested. The security guard further testified that he was present at the reception where Akena was being received.

The question then remains, how is it possible that the guard was in three places at the same time. He was allegedly helping the nurse to get the dying declaration, at the check point guarding his post at the gate, and at the same time in the parking yard monitoring ongoing activity. This raises doubt of the credibility of the testimony of the guard.

If he emphasized that he was guarding his post, Mutebi was duty bound to close the gate and to stop the white land cruiser from going out if indeed he had cause to believe there was a gun in the said car until the police, which he was aware was on the way, arrived.

That said, the guard at the height of it all, agreed that he failed to identify Joseph Kanyamunyu on the identification parade. He said the people paraded all looked similar.

According to Mutebi, Dr. Percy reportedly asked Akena what exactly had happened to him. Mutebi said that Akena responded that he had been shot by the people who had driven him to the hospital. How could he have heard the death declaration in English, when he professed and demonstrated during cross examination a lack of a basic understanding of the English language?

Clearly Mutebi did not project confidence and an air of trustworthiness for the public in his testimony. It appeared he had been coached as he even fails to read the contents of his statement which was made at the time of the incident.

On coaching witnesses, it is gross that prosecution omits facts along the way. For instance, it is the paramount duty of the guard to have searched the vehicle first at the entrance of hospital of which he admitted he did but the failure to have found the very gun which he claimed to have been exchanged inside the hospital casts immense doubt in the witnesses testimony.

The overwhelming problem with simply providing contrary testimony is that the argument becomes one of he-said, she-said.

Seems to be that the prosecution is having trouble getting conclusive evidence as most of the testimonies so far provided have only worked against their case. However, the case is ongoing and we hope to see more unfold to get more clarification on what actually happened on the fateful night.

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