KAMPALA -The Makindye Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday granted bail to two people charged with crimes relating to rash and neglect, after over 10 party-goers died on New Year’s Eve following a stampede.
The promoter of the deadly Freedom City Mall event and concert MC had appeared in court Tuesday after their arrest and remand to prison about 10 days ago. They were granted bail after the hearing by the Makindye Magistrates Court.
Promoter Abbey Musinguzi aka Abtex and MC Elvis Francis Juuko remain charged with crimes including 13 counts of neglects.
Prosecution contends that Abtex with others still at large on December 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023, at Freedom City in Wakiso district, in a manner so rash or negligent so as to endanger human life caused the death of eleven people and injuring two.
“They were arraigned on 13 counts of causing death or injuries to several people on account of being negligent and indulging in what they called ‘rash act’. So, basically those are the charges. So, each victim constituted a count that’s why they are many,” said Lukwago, who doubles as the Lord Mayor, Kampala City.
Most of the victims were aged between 10 and 20, police said, and three remain in hospital with severe injuries.
The magistrate’s court granted each of the accused cash bail of Ugx2m (about $540). The accused person’s sureties were ordered to execute a non-cash bond of Ugx20m each.
The court was packed with survivors and relatives of the victims as well as families of the two men charged, politicians, and lawyers.
“Musinguzi and Juuko will be reappearing in court on February 7 this year for the hearing (of the case),” according to Lukwago.
Juuko was arrested on Friday in Mityana, 60 kilometres west of Kampala where he was reportedly hiding following the tragedy.
A third person arrested and charged, the owner of the Freedom City Mall, did not appear in court on Tuesday after being freed from police custody.
Juuko is accused of encouraging partygoers to go through a narrow passage from the concert hall to watch the fireworks, triggering the stampede.
Concert organisers had closed other exits to prevent revellers who had not paid from gaining access to the overcrowded venue inside the shopping mall.
President Museveni ordered a speedy investigation into the crush – offering each family of the deceased money amounting to Ugx5m (about $1250) to help with funeral expenses.