Kabale, Uganda – A businesswoman from Wakiso district, Shamim Bitariho, has been sentenced to one year and six months in jail for stealing a motor vehicle belonging to Kigezi Diocese.
Bitariho admitted to stealing the grey Suzuki vehicle with registration number UAT 478N on July 12, 2023. The vehicle had transported clerics from Kikungiri Archdeaconry to the burial of the late Apollo Nyegamahe alias Aponye in Rukiga district.
She was intercepted by police at the Nyeihanga town council checkpoint around 10:00 p.m. and found in possession of nine vehicle master keys, five sticks of marijuana, 500,000 Shillings in cash, 2 trays of eggs, and traditional herbs wrapped in dry banana fibers.
Bitariho was first detained at Rwampara police station and later transferred to Rukiga police station. She was charged with stealing a motor vehicle valued at 17.7 million Shillings, contravening sections 254 and 265 of the Penal Code Act.
Appearing before the Kabale Chief Magistrate, Derrick Byamugisha on Tuesday, Batariho requested a private talk with the plaintiffs. During this meeting with Rev Canon Tweteise and Rev Canon Nkurunungi who represented Kigezi diocese, she pleaded guilty and asked for forgiveness. She explained that her health had deteriorated during her two-month remand since she was HIV positive.
Batariho claimed that she was unaware the vehicle was stolen because it had been given to her by a man named Sula Sekasi from Kampala, who instructed her to drive it to the Diocese headquarters. However, the church representatives, informed Batariho that they had no authority to decide her fate, as she was under state jurisdiction, despite her admission of guilt.
Byamugisha handed a one-year and six-month sentence to Batariho at Ndorwa government prison, stating that she had not wasted the court’s time. Byamugisha also returned 480,000 Shillings to Batariho to assist her during her sentence.
Rev Canon Milton Nkurunungi, the Secretary of Kigezi Diocese welcomed the ruling and urged members of the public to refrain from engaging in criminal activities.
Implications of the Sentence
The sentence handed to Batariho is a significant one, and it sends a strong message to those who are considering engaging in criminal activities. It also shows that the Ugandan courts are committed to upholding the law and protecting the rights of the victims of crime.
The sentence is also likely to have a deterrent effect on others who may be considering stealing vehicles. It is a reminder that there are serious consequences for those who engage in such crimes.
The sentence is also a reminder of the importance of vigilance. The clerics who were traveling in the vehicle were able to report it stolen to the police quickly, which helped to ensure that Batariho was caught and brought to justice.
Overall, the sentence handed to Batariho is a positive development. It shows that the Ugandan courts are committed to upholding the law and protecting the rights of the victims of crime. It also sends a strong message to those who are considering engaging in criminal activities.