Plain-clothes security officers yesterday stormed the Kibuli-based Criminal Intelliegence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) and asked to search the offices of the anti-narcotics department.
A knowledgeable source said Flying Squad operatives arrived at Kibuli at around 9am and demanded to search the offices of Superintendent of Police Tinka Zerugaba, the acting head of Narcotics at CIID headquarters, and an assistant inspector of police only identified as Benon.
The offices, according to insider sources, were closed. The operatives reportedly waited for CIID director Grace Akullo to give them clearance but she was not in office.
Akullo’s deputy Obwona later gave the operatives the all-clear to do the search but they failed to proceed because the offices remained firmly closed. At the end of the day, the targeted officers didn’t show up and the flying squad operatives remained stationed at the premises.
The Observer has also learnt that the Chieftancy of Military Intelligence operatives yesterday picked a senior VIPPU officer from Nsambya barracks.
The surprise raid at CIID further rattled the police fraternity with some officers, according to our sources, fleeing their offices at the slightest opportunity. Others who hadn’t reported for work didn’t bother to set foot at Kibuli CIID headquarters for much of yesterday.
The Observer couldn’t independently confirm whether really it was CMI that picked the VIPPU officer or if it was Flying Squad that stormed Kibuli.
Asked yesterday whether he led the search of CIID premises, Herbert Muhangi, the commandant of the Flying Squad, said: “Hmm….., who gave you that information? Then tell your sources to give you more details. Anyway I have briefed the [Police] PRO Mr Asan Kasingye and he will give you details. I did the report of what we did there and gave it to him. He can tell you,” Muhangi said.
Police spokesman Asan Kasingye refused to comment on the matter, referring The Observer to his colleague Vincent Sekatte, the CIID spokesman.
“I gave that department to my senior officer Vincent Sekatte who is the spokesperson of CIID; let him find out,” Kasingye said.
Interviewed yesterday, Sekatte said he had no information about the CIID raid.
“I will verify that information tomorrow,” he said.
For his part, army spokesman Brigadier Richard Kalemire said, “CMI cannot search CIID headquarters.”
This raid on CIID comes days after CMI shocked the nation when it arrested several senior police officers.
The officers arrested last month and arraigned before the army’s General Court Martial on October 27 were: Commandant of Police Professional Standards Unit, SCP Joel Aguma; SSP Nixon Agasirwe, who is a former commander of Police Special Operations, and ASP James Magada (Crime Intelligence).
Aguma and Agasirwe were remanded to Makindye Military Police detention facility till November 20. Others arrested are Sgt Abel Tumukunde (Flying Squad), Faisal Katende (Flying Squad) and Amon Kwarisima.
Rene Rutagungira, a Rwandese national, and Bahati Mugenga Irunga, a Congolese national, were charged alongside the police officers.
They were remanded to Luzira prison. It is alleged that on September 25, 2013, the accused persons kidnapped Lieutenant Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan president Paul Kagame, in Kamengo, on Kampala – Masaka road, and forcefully conveyed him to Rwanda.
Mutabazi had fled for his life from Kigali to seek political asylum in Uganda, with the United Nations refugee agency looking after him.
The police group was also charged with the kidnap of Jackson Kalemera, Mutabazi’s brother, on the same day. Similarly, Kalemera was also dispatched to Rwandan authorities against his wishes.
The CMI’s new-found involvement in investigating high-profile cases like the murder of 20-plus women in Wakiso district, which hirtherto were a preserve of the police force, has stoked speculation that the agency has the presidential nod of approval.
“In most cases, criminal cases which are supposed to be investigated by police end up with CMI investigating them, you just know it’s a directive from above. Since CMI handles military cases, the president has more confidence in them, that they can also handle such sensitive criminal cases,”a police source told us.
Interviewed yesterday, deputy police spokesperson Polly Namaye said security agencies are supposed to cooperate.
“There are some issues where we are supposed to cooperate with other security agencies to investigate, depending on the circumstances. Article 212 of the constitution says police will work with other security agencies and the population. If other security organisations are on board, it’s constitutional, there is no problem,” she said.
Interviewed about CMI’s role in police investigations, the minister of state for Internal Affairs, Obiga Kania, said,“I don’t know, you can ask CMI why they are investigating murder cases. They will tell you.”
Interviewed earlier in the day, UPDF spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire had said the army is simply helping police in its investigations.
“Police still takes the lead in murder investigations. We just support them by sharing information on crime issues such as murder and other investigations,” he said.
Karemire added that when a civilian is arrested, they [army] analyse the nature of the case and if a crime has been committed with a soldier or involves a military weapon, the suspect can be tried in the General Court Martial.