Former Tooro Kingdom Prime Minister, John Sanyu Katuramu, has been released from Prison.
Katuramu, a wealthy businessman, was chauffeured out of Luzira Prisons premises this Saturday by his family in a SUV.
In a photo shared on social media, the son can be seen smiling as a relaxed Katuramu looks on.
Katuramu, who has been serving a life sentence, was in September 2001 convicted by Justice John Bosco Katutsi for murder of Prince Happy Kijanangoma.
Court found that on March 25, 1999, Katuramu ﬁnanced the murder of the prince and his guard, Stephen Kaganda at Palace View Bar in Fort Portal, Kabarole district. He was handed a death penalty.
Katuramu’s sentence was later commuted to life in prison after Susan Kigula and 400 other death row inmates successfully appealed against their sentences in the Supreme court in 2009.
The Supreme Court then ruled that if someone is convicted and sentenced to death and is not hanged within three years, then the High court would revisit his or her sentence to a maximum of life in prison for 20 years.
He got his death row sentence commuted to life in prison for 20 years in 2009.
Prisons Chief Johnson Byabashaija confirmed to ChimpReports that Katuramu is indeed out of Luzira.
“Yes,” he confirmed in a text message if it was indeed true that Katuramu had already been released from Luzira.
“It is a normal release,” said Byabashaija this Saturday morning.
It all started in 1993 with the death of Omukama of Toro kingdom, Patrick Olimi Kaboyo.
Fights shook the monarchy over the management of the kingdom’s vast prime properties – with the kingdom’s Prime Minister John Katuramu against the royals, especially prince Happy Kijanangoma and princess Elizabeth Bagaya.
The royals petitioned court seeking revocation of Katuramu’s powers to manage the kingdom properties.
They alleged that the premier was having an inappropriate affair with the Queen Mother, Best Kemigisa. During the same period Kijanangoma was mobilising the royal clan to move a vote of no confidence against Katuramu. His position in the kingdom lay in balance.
In order to preempt the move to have him removed from office, Katuramu hired assailants who killed Happy Kijanangoma on March 25, 1999.
But before travelling to Fort Portal to attend the court case against Katuramu on March 25, 1999, Kijanangoma had asked Karamagi to inform a friend, Mboijana, that he had heard information that Katuramu had hired gunmen for Shs6 million to kill him.
On that evening of March 25 while enjoying drinks with a friend, Ferri Babara, at Palace View Bar in Fort Portal, an unknown person entered and whispered to Alex Twinomugisha (A1) and the two went out. Shortly after, they returned and Twinomugisha shot Kijanangoma and the bar’s night watchman Stephen Kaganda. Both died on the spot. Babara was injured.
Twinomugisha was arrested in Kireka in Kampala by Capt. Kayanja on July 23, 1999. He was taken to the Directorate of Military Intelligence (now CMI) and to Kampala Central Police Station.
ChimpReports understands the families of Katuramu and Kijanangoma later reconciled, allowing President Museveni to exercise his prerogative of mercy.
“Issues of Katuramu can’t be solved at a rally. I need to sort it out with the the families but not at a rally. So if the two families settled (agreed), I have no problem with releasing Katuramu,” said Museveni in 2016.
The Constitution gives the President powers to forgive convicts under the annual prerogative of mercy.
The Supreme Court decided that once a death penalty is not executed in three years, the convict should serve a life sentence which is 20 years.
Katuramu has been at Luzira for the last 20 years since he was convicted for murder.
In a 2012 interview, Katuramu was asked if he felt any remorse for the crimes he committed.
He responded: “What happened was unfortunate though it was exaggerated. All I can say to my people from Toro and Uganda as a whole is that I am sorry. I pray for their forgiveness.”
Many concluded that Katuramu was not sincere in his apology.
Katuramu has another criminal case that was suspended.
It is related to the murder of Richard Tumwesigye – who was shot dead with his two friends outside the Eastern gate of Makerere University on the day he had finished his law exams.
The Killer Alex Twine, the same man who shot and killed Kijanangoma was reportedly targeting, Mirindi Kajabago, an intelligence operative who was in the company of Tumwesigye and the girl, Mary Kaitetsi.
Katuramu had hired Twine and Bob Smart, (renowned hit men and army deserters) to kill Kijanangoma on March 24, 1999.