Fugitive Dr. Mathew Kirabo, who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Desire Mirembe, has been arrested in Nairobi.
The arrest by the International Police (Interpol) on Tuesday (September 12, 2023) comes almost one year after he was convicted of the 2015 murder of Mirembe. A security source confirmed his arrest but declined to comment further: “We shall brief you on Wednesday”.
On May 30, 2022, Mukono High Court Judge Henry Kaweesa in absentia convicted Kirabo of the murder. The judge said he would issue the sentence after the convict was arrested.
In his judgment, Kaweesa relied on the advice from court assessors who said in their report, that all the evidence in place showed that the accused had masterminded the murder of Mirembe.
Kirabo’s conviction came almost two months after court assessors in Mukono High Court on March 29, 2022, advised the Judge to find him guilty of killing Mirembe in 2015.
One of the assessors, Robert Sseguya, told the court that all the evidence in place showed that the accused masterminded the murder and prayed that he should be found guilty.
Mirembe’s relatives, led by his father, Emmanuel Musoke, said the ruling excited them and that justice had finally been served.
However, they shared their disappointments with security, which failed to arrest Kirabo who absconded court after being pinned by several witnesses.
Mirembe, a student at Makerere University Medical School went missing in July 2015 shortly after she left her hostel to go and meet her boyfriend, Kirabo. Her body was later recovered in a sugarcane plantation in Jinja on July 7, 2015.
Detectives would later arrest Kirabo who confessed to the murder, took them to the scene of the crime, reconstructed the murder scene, and indicated how he had strangled her and slit her throat using a surgical blade.
Kirabo was charged at the Jinja Magistrates Court with murder before and was remanded but was later granted bail on November 24, 2016.
The case moved to Mukono High Court which had jurisdiction over it (the case) after the state in Jinja complained that they didn’t have the locus to continue prosecuting it.
In May 2021, there was an uproar after the suspect Kirabo applied to court to get back his passport so that he could fly to the US for further studies.
Following the intervention of the former State House Anti-Corruption Unit head, Col. Edith Nakalema, the family met the Principal Judge Justice, Dr. Flavian Zeija, who promised to ensure the matter was heard within the shortest time possible.
The trial resumed but in October, Kirabo skipped court and his lawyers informed the Judge that he was sick; however, photos would later emerge of Kirabo being introduced by his new girlfriend, a US citizen.
Medical personnel who also forged lab results, which indicated that Kirabo was sick having been infected with COVID-19 from Jinja were arrested and remanded.
On November 3, 2021, Judge Kaweesa issued an arrest warrant for Kirabo and asked the Police to present him in court “as soon as possible”. Kirabo failed to turn up prompting the judge to order his sureties to produce him or pay the fine.
On November 17, 2021, the sureties: Imelda Wabulembo, Benard Mbayo, and Elizabeth Baleke told the court that they did not know the whereabouts of Kirabo. Justice Kaweesa said the sureties were given adequate time to produce the suspect in court.
He ordered that each of the sureties pay shillings 50 million or face jail or be arrested for aiding the escape of a suspect. They later paid the shillings 150 million.
Kirabo is reported to have fled the country in November 2021. By the time of his arrest, his warrant was still on. His arrest warrant, however, still stands.