The family of Robert Karamagi, who allegedly got burnt at the home of popular local musician Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone is demanding fresh investigations into circumstances that led to his death in 2012.
It is alleged that Karamagi aged 27 then, was undressed and with his hands tied with a rope, doused with aviation fuel before being set ablaze on December 26, 2012, at Chameleones’ home in Seguku, a Kampala suburb after being accused of theft.
Now, in a petition to the director of public prosecutions (DPP), the deceased’s family through its lawyers of Ochieng Associated Advocates and Solicitors and Nalukoola Advocates and Solicitors, says that they have previously written to the Office of the DPP regarding the same subject matter in vain.
“The predecessor [DPP] promised to have the matter investigated afresh and assured members of the public to handle the same to its logical conclusion,” reads the petition dated April 28, 2023.The petition adds that the previous DPP had pledged to allow Maj Benedicto Kyamanywa, father of the deceased, an opportunity to give police further information and have the file sanctioned.
“The purpose of this letter is to invite your good office to consider reopening the file and invite our client to give information regarding investigations and reconstruction of the scene of the crime, which will culminate in justice for our client’s late son Karamagi Robert. We are appreciative of your timely response in anticipation,” further reads the petition.
On January 10, 2017, the family’s lawyers also asked the DPP to allow them to join the team in investigating the case and preparation for the same for prosecution. In the alternative, they asked the DPP to allow their client to engage private investigators and institute private proceedings.
Chameleone and his wife Daniella Atim were at the time, accused of giving conflicting versions of the events that led to Karamagi’s death. On one hand, Chameleone allegedly told investigators that Karamagi was a terrorist who had invaded his home with a suicide mission of torching the house so as to finish off Chameleone’s family. Investigators however claimed that other family members indicated that Karamagi was a thief who had been caught with the family’s TV and phones before he got apprehended by Chameleone’s wife and after a bitter exchange, he set himself ablaze.
Earlier, on November 30, 2016, the family through their lawyers also wrote to the DPP complaining about the mishandling of the case, which was reported at Katwe police station referenced as KMP/E/01/2013.
They said that before his demise at Mulago hospital, Karamagi reportedly told his father and people around clearly that “I was tied with a rope and burnt with aviation fuel inside Joseph Mayanja’s residence as I pleaded for mercy and its Jose Chameleone himself who burnt me.”
The complaint also adds that “the purpose of this communication hereof is to put forth the plight of this family and to request that you prevail over this matter and fresh investigations be carried out so as to ascertain the truth of the murder.”
On December 9, 2016, the then DPP, Mike Chibita, now a Supreme court justice, wrote to the family saying that following their meeting, it was established that he had fresh evidence to implicate the suspects.
A decision was then taken to reopen investigations, and he wrote a letter on March 10, 2015, directing the director of CIID to conduct fresh investigations. Chibita added that since then, he did not receive the file back for review and directed the director to give them an update on the progress. The office of the DPP is yet to disclose its plan regarding this fresh petition.
Chameleone, who couldn’t be reached, has since denied the allegations levied against him in statements released through his Leone Island Music Empire.