Kampala. One of the co-accused in the Shs5m bribe case against suspended labour junior minister Herbert Kabafunzaki, has suicidal thoughts after becoming mentally sick.
According to a letter dated May 30 from Butabika Mental Hospital addressed to the Anti-Corruption Court, Mr Bruce Lubowa, an interior designer from Wakiso District was admitted to the facility on May 1 for treatment.
The contents of the letter read out to the Kololo-based court on Tuesday by state prosecutor, Mr Maxim Elizooba, show that Mr Lubowa is suffering from secondary depression, coupled with suicidal thoughts.
Secondary depression occurs when someone has one or more illnesses and then is diagnosed with depression.
The primary illness may be a mental disorder or a chronic disease which illness leads to a depression. Secondary depression then comes in as a response to being sick of that chronic disease.
“I have a letter from Butabika hospital dated May 30 stating that A3 (Mr Lubowa) was admitted there on May 1. He was found to suffer from secondary depression as well as having suicidal thoughts and occasional hallucinations,” prosecutor Elizooba read the contents of the letter to court.
“He (Mr Lubowa) was discharged from the hospital on May 21 on the request of the family due to financial constraints. He is still on medication for secondary depression,” Mr Elizooba further read the contents of the letter signed off by Dr Juliet Naku on behalf of the Executive Director of Butabika hospital.
Suicidal thoughts can range from being pre-occupied by abstract thoughts about ending their own lives or feeling that people would be better off without you to thinking about making clear plans to take their own life.
The trial involves minister Kabafunzaki who is accused of receiving a Shs5m bribe from Aya Group chairman, Mr Hamid Mohammed Mohammed, in exchange of clearing his name in the media of sexual harassment allegations early last year.
A challenge to prosecution
The minister is jointly charged with his aide, Brian Mugabo, who wants to plead guilty under the plea bargaining programme and Mr Lubowa.
The mental illness of Mr Lubowa is posing a challenge to the prosecution since he has not been appearing in court for the last two months to stand trial.
This scenario of the prosecution to continue presenting witnesses without Mr Lubowa being physically present in court, is a very good ground for the defense team to successfully appeal against the decision of the court in future.
All these technicalities are expected to be addressed on June 25 when the matter resumes before presiding Judge, Margaret Tibulya.