14 November 2017

Uganda: Police On the Spot Over Extortion

Oyam — Residents of Myene Sub-county in Oyam District have accused police officers at Myene Police Post of asking suspects for money before granting them.

The residents made the accusations during a public education theatre forum organised by anti-corruption crusaders at Ongoko oje Trading Centre last Thursday.

According to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), any person arrested and taken to a police station for breaking the law may be released until the police complete its investigations. The guarantee that he or she will turn up whenever required to do so by the police is known as police bond. JSC says no money is paid on police bond.

But the officers at Myene are allegedly charging Shs50,000 for a police bond. The officers there are also allegedly asking complainants to pay Shs50,000 to facilitate suspects' arrest.

"We are getting a lot of problems with the police. The level at which they are extorting money from us is very high," said Mr David Obong, a resident.

"They are also using crime preventers to arrest the suspects. They (police officers) ask a complainant to pay Shs50,000 for them to go and arrest a suspect, and one has to pay Shs50,000 to be released on police bond," an elderly woman said.

The Oyam Resident District Commissioner, Ms Gillian Akullo, apologised to the community and promised to take action.

"Forgive us, we did not know what you were going through but now that you have informed us about it, we are going to deal with the culprits," she said.

The Oyam District Criminal Intelligence Department (CID) officer, Mr Amos Okoboi, asked residents to always report culprits to Oyam Central Police Station.

"Bond is completely free," he said, promising to take disciplinary measures against officers involved in the alleged extortion of money from the public.

However, Mr Okoboi explained it wouldn't be a problem for crime preventers to arrest a suspect if they only followed guidelines.

"Anybody has a right to arrest a person suspected to have committed an offence or about to commit an offence. But you don't torture suspect when you arrest them," he explained.

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