20 March 2017

Uganda: What AIGP Kaweesi Said 14 Hours Before His Death

Photo: Daily Monitor
Police spokesperson Andrew Kaweesi.
interview

Two years ago, one of you (Stephen Mugarura) wrote a document and sent it to the IGP complaining about senior police officers who are involved in protecting criminals from prosecution. Have you heard about this document?

Well, I heard about that officer's allegations. First of all, that officer is undisciplined. He is doing it out of anger and speculation.

He has had issues at his work station which led him to be reverted from CID and given other duties outside CID.

So he took offence and he now has ill motives on whoever he thinks could have contributed to his reversion. So, he comes up with stories that officer so and so ... Yes, even if he had some belief that really some police officers are involved in crime, maybe that is not the best way to handle such matters.

The police have a self-regulatory system. The regulatory system is that every unit has got an officer in charge of discipline. At the national level we have a department called Professional Standards Unit (PSU); all complaints of any kind on any officer, even at my rank, are investigated.

Many senior officers have been summoned to the PSU to record statements in respect of the allegations put against them. So, there are internal checks and the system cannot protect any wrongdoers.

And you should not forget that we are a law enforcement institution so we cannot condone any acts that break the law.

So, this man makes his accusations, basically as you say, from sour graping. But then he is accusing senior officers. Any investigations carried out?

He has not put his complaints formally to the police internal organs that investigate such complaints. He runs to the media and he informs the media that he has written to the President. We also read it in the media the way you are saying...

Actually we have seen the dossiers which he wrote to the IGP and the President. So they actually exist

No. You see someone can just put IGP, address IGP, when he has not sent the document. Let him bring a stamped document and then he tells us, "You have not acted on my document." And he knows very well that the PSU acts on behalf of the IGP. So if he has written to IGP he has actually written to PSU.

So what is being done about the allegations he is making?

I don't know even where he is. He has even absconded from duty. That is why I am saying he is undisciplined. He would have first of all ... first of all, even if they (police human resource department) changed him, he should have reported to the new station. If he has any evidence that so and so protects criminals and or is involved in criminal activity, then he should bring it to the attention of the respective unit.

So, Mr Kaweesi, you are saying this (crime in police) doesn't happen?

No. I am not saying that police doesn't commit crime. Whatever I am saying is in respect of the allegations of this particular officer. And I don't want to say those officers he claims to have been protecting criminals have done so because he has not used the right formal channels. He chooses to use side methods of complaining.

Ok. We have spoken to some of the victims and they also name particular officers who have frustrated their cases

The challenge with law enforcement is that nobody will appreciate if he is not on the right side of the story.

But where you have a complaint you will always have one on the right side and the other one on the wrong side. Both parties cannot be on one side. So some of our officers become victims of these personal vendettas that come because of (civilians) having felt they would have maybe won a case.

Take an example, one can have a case at a police station and the OC-CID decides that it should be done this way and the person doesn't want it to be done that way.

So, when the results of the case come out and don't favour that person, he will actually say they have killed my case. And you know today when they report a case at the police station they want the person to be imprisoned immediately, which shouldn't be the case.

The police are supposed to investigate. When the investigations have matured you can now get this person to court.

One of the police persons accused - the name which frequently comes up - is one Kaggwa. I remember reading in Bukedde where he said he actually knew the criminals. So this is a case of a man who actually fraternises with criminals, according to one of the victims, and acts as a go-between for criminals and victims. Is this the right image of a law enforcement officer?

I am not going to really accuse an officer based on the speculation of one officer. If the officer has evidence let him bring it up and he takes it to the relevant unit of the police.

Whether he has mentioned an officer, that is his side of the story. We must look at the other side of the story and give impartial treatment for both parties.

If one proves his case then the one responsible will be punished. But that does not mean that police officers do not commit crime. There are several police officers who have committed both criminal and service offences.

Can you give me an example of an officer penalised according to your rules?

I will give you a whole file. The recent ones had to do with the clashes on Entebbe Road and they have been recommended to be demoted from senior ranks. That is an internal disciplinary mechanism. Many have lost jobs, ranks, paid fines, and been made to work under hard labour. All those are punishments.

But the IGP has publicly complained about mafia in police...

IGP did not complain about mafia in the ... he actually said in the security forces. He did not say, "I have criminals in the police whom we have failed to manage." He wanted to mean ... he was making a reference to the case of fraud that involved people from Poland and he realised that the syndicate has some officers who aid them. And he said we should investigate. The case had some military officers.

You have cases of gold deals involving police officers, such as, Regional CID Kawempe who talked about it. These cases come up but that does not mean we have criminals in the police force. It means that there are police officers who commit crime. The two are different. I hope you get it...

But you see, it is not the IGP's role to cry about mafia in police ...

He was not crying. He was just telling you that even in the security forces there are criminal-minded people whom we are sorting out. He was telling the public that not only in the outside world, even in uniform there are some criminal-minded people. And that is true.

When it comes to the CIID and delaying investigations ... what do you say to that?

What do you mean delaying investigating cases? Do we have a timeline of investigating a case?

I think it ties in to individual police officers frustrating investigations

Let me tell you. A capital offence in its full length can even take five years to be investigated. Secondly, the problems come from people not separating civil and criminal offences. Sometimes when one brings a civil case, they are told it is not for police, (then) he thinks the other party has bribed the police. And he gets frustrated.

Police is not supposed to investigate civil offences but some of our officers do so for personal gains, which we are trying to rectify. So the delay is there to an extent.

Yes, some (officers) may not have the motivation to investigate by bringing flimsy reasons like being given transport even where it is not needed. And you find they have not moved at the pace one would have expected.

However, that does not mean the case has died; that person can be removed and that case given to someone else. And this has happened several times.

What is strange is that one of the victims of delayed investigation is a relative of the director, CIID. Someone would have thought she has some leverage over the cases...

The director would have helped her for the case to be investigated? I have many people related to me who come here with cases every day. Today, a lady came here from my home area with a case about being defrauded of a car she had just bought.

I cannot help her because she did not do due diligence to check the logbook. The car is now parked at Entebbe Police Station. Someone may say, "Even our own has not helped us." She came thinking I am just going to tell Entebbe police to release the car, which I can't do.

Does the name Musinguzi (a suspected high profile fraudster/criminal) ring a bell?

Musinguzi? Isn't it the person this officer (Mugarura) has always brought up? That he works with our officers?

Yes. He is a well-known criminal. Actually his name always comes up when we talk to the victims of high class fraud. Why isn't he arrested?

But I don't know. Someone is a police officer and he says Musinguzi is a well-known criminal. What has prevented him from arresting him? That police officer (Mugarura) has all the powers to apprehend this man. Then, he would complain that I got this man then this person came and intervened.

Actually, he did arrest him (Musinguzi) in Fort Portal and he was released in Kampala...

You see, that story of Fort Portal has recycled for three years involving Mugarura, those criminals, and some police people (officers). And that case is a personal matter Mugarura has with those people.

You mean the senior police officers?

No. He thinks that Musinguzi has not been arrested because the senior people protect him. But the senior people have not done any intervention.

Mugarura does not say, "On this day, I arrested this man and then I got a call from Kaweesi saying release him."

So why isn't he (Musinguzi) arrested?

Where is the case? Has the case been sanctioned?

Please my dear, it is not a matter of reporting a case to police that leads someone to jail. The case must be investigated and sanctioned. Is there any sanctioned file saying that Musinguzi is supposed to go to court and he has not gone?

You ask Mugarura. If he has any sanctioned file, let him bring it to me.

Another alleged criminal called Kwiringira had a file sanctioned, was charged and taken to Luzira, but released. He has disappeared

When a case is sent to the DPP it has shifted from being a police case. The police only take this person to court. What happens to that person is not police business. He has full rights to get bail and police cannot stop it. If he has any other case, he can be arrested upon release when he is outside the court premises.

Do you worry that the public's confidence in the police has reduced?

So, let me tell you, we will not have any society that is crime-free. That is Utopia. So long as human beings live and have needs, you will have crime.

There are three things that will remain constant in life. Definitely there is life that starts at birth, and one has to die. That is a constant. One has to fall sick and one has to commit crime. Along the way, crime will not have ... some live up to old age without committing crime.

But because of human interest, you will always have incidents of crime because people want to live better; people want to take advantage of any situation. So, you cannot have a crime-free society.

And as per the issue of criminals owning weapons, yes, we are just sandwiched by states that have had really serious conflicts and war. And some of these weapons cross over to our society, community and some of these bad characters use those weapons to commit crimes...

Increased crime...

No. Not really ... Which one?

Concerning fraud, at least, and ...

You see, crime keeps changing and when a new crime comes, people think crime has now gone higher. Today you can't hear of any armed robbery of a bank. It's very rare. But in the '90s, almost every two to three days you would hear of an armed robbery of the bank. Why? Because today you cannot access money in the strong room as it used to be. Money now is electronically controlled.

And where you have hard cash it is not easy to access. You can't break into a petrol station and get money. We have smart fraudsters who are not using physical energy to steal. In the smartness they use technology...

And are the police catching up?

We are catching up, although we have to do more because technology is not a domain of one person. You use one source of technology and the other one uses the other. So you have to continue shifting.

Today you can transfer billions of dollars using a simple system and you cheat so many. So when you hear this, you say crime is so high.

Back to Mugarura, he keeps coming up with these allegations. Why?

I have personally talked to him and I have guided him on what to do. And he is not a disciplined officer because even where he was transferred to, he said he would not go there because the officers he accused will find him there and kill him. How? He wants to be either in Kampala or Fort Portal. Can't they find him in Kampala and Fort Portal and kill him? That is if they really want to kill him anyway; if they are criminals.

Beginning Thursday next week, we shall run accounts of individuals who were defrauded of their money and accuse police officers of siding with the criminals to frustrate their cases.

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