The former Jinja Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Eric Sakwa is now a free man after the court in Jinja acquitted him of manslaughter, aggravated robbery, assault and malicious damage charges.
Sakwa had allegedly committed the crimes while enforcing the presidential directives on the prevention of COVID-19 in March 2020 when he, alongside Mohammed Simba, assaulted Charles Isanga, a resident of Lwanda village in the then Mafubira sub county, in Jinja district.
At the time, the government had announced restrictions against gatherings, movement of people and nighttime curfew as one of the measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But despite the restrictions, Isanga was found operating a kiosk beyond the acceptable hours.
The prosecution alleged that Sakwa used a blunt object to hit Isanga on the head, resulting in his death on April 18, 2020. He also reportedly stole three crates of beer, eight trays of eggs, a sachet of waragi and Shs80, 000 among other valuables.
Sakwa was subsequently interdicted on grounds that he could not serve in a public office while battling criminal charges.
Today, the Jinja Chief Magistrate’s court acquitted him of the charges, saying that the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused persons.
The presiding Chief Magistrate Jude Okumu stated that although Isanga died 26 days after the alleged assault in March 2020, there is no proof that either he or his family members complained before his death.
He adds that the statements released in the aftermath were uncoordinated and unreliable.
Okumu further states that none of the prosecution’s witnesses confirmed to court that Isanga had Shs80, 000 before the alleged assault. And neither did he report anywhere that his money had been stolen.
He also notes that the prosecution did not avail the court with evidence of malicious damage in form of photographs and neither did any of the prosecution’s witnesses implicate Sakwa in damaging property, which casts doubt on why he was accused of malicious damage.
Meanwhile, Sakwa says that he is hopeful of being reinstated back to his former job as an RDC after being acquitted by the court.