Presidential hopeful and former Security Minister Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde has been denied bail, again, by High Court judge, Justice Wilson Kwesiga.
Tumukunde appeared before court by form of video conferencing from Luzira Prison. In his submissions, the General raised issues such as “access to his doctor and lawyers while in prison” – things he termed as denial of his basic freedoms.
Defence lawyers led by Mr Alex Luganda argued that the general be granted bail on grounds that he is a law abiding citizen and a presidential aspirant who needs time to consult.
The prosecution, on the other hand, argued against his granting of bail because ‘he will interfere with investigations and threaten national security’.
Court denied Gen Tumukunde citing the current lockdown over coronavirus and said he didn’t present trusted sureties before the court. Justice Kwesiga said the accussed is required to present, among other substantial sureties, at least two serving officers of his rank or higher with an approval from the CDF.
A surety is a person who goes to court and promises to a judge to supervise an accused person while they are out on bail. A surety also pledges or promises an amount of money to the court by signing a type of bond called a recognizance.
Tumukunde, according to prosecution, was found in possession of a modified AK 47 rifle and a Star pistol without valid firearm certificates. The State further claims that while appearing on a talk show, the retired General made treasonous utterances by ‘suggesting’ that Rwanda helps Uganda to cause regime change.
Richard Mugwisagye, the officer leading investigations in Tumukunde’s case, releasing the former security minister puts national stability at risk since he still has contacts within military circles.
“The applicant is charged with a very serious offence of treason contrary to section 23(2)(b) of the Penal Code Act cap 120 that attracts a maximum sentence of death and the likelihood of the applicant absconding to escape the punishment in the event of conviction is high,” the state says.
“The nature of offence for which the applicant is charged is critical to national security of Uganda and substantially affects diplomatic relations between Uganda and Rwanda. Investigations into the matter are in their infancy and they touch on relations with a foreign country as well as involve interviewing witnesses and visiting scenes,” Mr Mugwisagye said in court documents.