The owner of the three-storey building that recently collapsed in a city suburb, killing dozens of construction workers and leaving scores injured, has been charged with several criminal offenses.
Mr Abraham Kalanzi, 31, was presented before Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court on Monday but denied the 19 counts slapped against him.
He was charged alongside the site engineer, Mr Christopher Bandi Luhambya, 55.
The collapsed building in question was located in Kiwempe-Lukuli Zone in Makindye Division, Kampala.
According to the charge sheet presented before the court, the two accused persons, face one count of building without a permit, one count of refusal to comply with the notice issued by a building committee and 17 counts of causing an accident on a building construction site.
Under the 17 counts of causing an accident on a building contrary to Section 45 (1) and (2) of the Building Control Act, they are accused of causing the death of 13 people through their actions or omissions.
Further, the two are accused of causing injury to three other workers.
They allegedly committed the offences between December 2019 and May 2020.
The duo denied all the charges brought against them and were released on a cash bail of Shs1.5m by presiding Grade One Magistrate Edith Mbabazi.
This was after the court took into consideration their ill health.
They return to court on June 23 when the prosecution is expected to give an update on how far they have gone with the investigations.
At the time of the collapse, several construction workers had been staying on-site following a presidential directive which restricted movement of people in a bid to stop further spread of Covid-19.
The building had reportedly been condemned by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) physical planning department in March.
It is alleged that the accused persons took advantage of the lockdown to resume building quickly, leading to its collapse under its own weight.
Mr Douglas Nsubuga, the Physical Planner at Makindye Division, said despite a directive for construction works to be halted pending a review of documentation regarding the building, the developer, identified as Abraham Kalanzi, took advantage of the lockdown to accelerate works on the site.