Death of key suspect ruled murder

As the official report from an inquest into the death of a key suspect — linked to the murder, three years ago, of prominent Kampala businessman Wilberforce Noah Wamala — makes its way to the Directorate of Public Prosecution, Mr Wamala’s widow is not optimistic the case will be treated any differently from several other investigations that have come before it.  

Presided over by Grade One Magistrate George Watyekere, the three-month probe concluded on July 21 that Hassim Ssali — the prime suspect in the death of Mr Wamala — had been deliberately killed while in police custody. The findings contradict what the police had earlier claimed — that the 23-year-old committed suicide inside his cell.  

“Although the initial post-mortem report showed that the deceased died as a result of hanging, after hearing evidence at the inquest, it was found that the deceased died of unnatural causes and his death may be classified as a homicide,” said Mr Watyekere.  
According to information from the judiciary, Mr Watyekere is expected to submit his work to the Chief Registrar early next week, who will review it, make the necessary comments and forward it to the Director of Public Prosecutions. He, in turn, will study it and determine what to do next.  

“For the past three years, we have been from office to office and nobody showed any interest especially when they understood the details of the case and who was involved,” said Elizabeth Kigozi Wamala, Mr Wamala’s widow.  

“It is frustrating when people are not interested in what’s going on in their country, when they are only interested in saving face and covering up for people who are committing crimes,” she added.  

Although officials from the DPP were not readily available for comment, The EastAfrican understands the top leadership there have given assurances to President Yoweri Museveni that they will make the case a priority.  

President Museveni reportedly took a keen interest in the case after Ms Wamala petitioned him in February claiming senior police officers were involved in her husband’s death and were foiling investigations.

Mr Ssali was found dead in a juvenile cell at Bukasa Police Post on September 21, 2013 — just two days after he made an extrajudicial statement before a magistrate in Luzira, a copy of which The EastAfrican has seen.  

In it, he directly implicated two of the deceased’s close associates, a relative and a long-time personal assistant.

Mr Wamala was beheaded in his home in Mutungo, on February 3, 2012 together with his househelp Sadiq Mugerwa.  

No one has been arrested over his death despite his family hiring private investigators, who concluded that there is “glaring evidence of murder and pin specific individuals.”