Less than a month after he demanded for two serving military officers at the same rank as Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde to stand as his sureties, Justice Wilson Kwesiga of the High Court’s criminal division has at last released the former Security Minister on bail.
The judge on April 14, 2020, rejected Lt Gen Tumukunde’s bail application on grounds of lack of substantial sureties, setting a tough demand that he presents two military officers at his rank or even at a higher rank with a letter of introduction from the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF).
But when the matter came up again on Monday morning, the judge had a change of heart and granted the former minister a non-cash bail of Shs 50 million, the same amount that was attached to his civilian sureties that included his wife, Stella Tumukunde, brother Hannington Karuhanga and family friend, Matthew Rukikaire.
This was after Tumukunde’s lawyers; Anthony Wameli, Alex Luganda and Geoffrey Turyamusiima who were joined by criminal law don McDusman Kabega applied for a relaxation of the bail conditions, saying they had failed to secure officers above his rank since he is no longer a serving officer.
The judge ordered Tumukunde who is standing trial for treason and illegal possession of firearms, to deposit his passport with the court and report to the High Court Registrar once every month for the extension of his bail on the treason charges.
Tumukunde is also required to appear before the senior City Hall Grade One Magistrate, Valerian Tumuhimbise on May 20, 2020, for the extension of his bail on charges of illegal possession of firearms.
Prosecution through state prosecutor, Lino Anguzu, had objected to Tumukunde’s bail application citing incomplete investigation but the judge rejected the argument telling the state to stop the habit of arresting, charging and remanding accused person before completing investigations.
He also noted that he had looked at the search certificate of March 13, 2020, presented by the state that clearly shows that the necessary exhibits were recovered. Justice Kwesiga also noted that it is more than 60 days since the police were named as essential service providers by President, Yoweri Museveni, which is sufficient time for the force to have completed investigations.
Tumukunde was picked from his Kololo residence on March 12, 2020, and arraigned before City Hall Magistrate’s Court for treason and illegal possession of firearms. He was subsequently remanded to Luzira prison.