Incarcerated Charles Olim aka Sipapa has been the subject of numerous theft scandals, but none larger — or more damaging for his long career in that trade — than the break-in at Kawuku- Bunga on August 28, 2022, that led to his arrest and remand to prison for stealing about $429,000 (Shs 1.6 billion) from a South Sudanese national.
This time, Sipapa picked the wrong target with a strong lever of influence over security here and loads of cash to seek justice at all costs. The victim; Jacob Arok, is a South Sudanese national and the current managing director of the multi-million-dollar South Sudan National Pension Fund (SSNPF), The Observer has learned.
Arok, who hails from Jonglei State, South Sudan, took over the leadership of SSNPF in July 2021. According to insider sources in South Sudan, Arok is also the chief executive officer of Baping Insurance Company, which is almost the country’s National Insurance Company incorporated in March 2006.
“He is the CEO of Baping Company Limited established in 2006. The company has been licensing vehicle number plates since 2016. The company licenses South Sudan’s vehicles, motorcycles, government cars, vehicles, local and international organizations, and development partners’ cars,” a source said by telephone.
Arok also owns a radio station; 11 Top FM II, which covers 80 kilometres outside Juba. He also has a local non-government organization (NGO) he uses to give back to the community through corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The Observer has established that Arok has been a businessman before and after South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011, from Sudan. He is reported to have accumulated wealth before his appointment to the government job.
Interviewed about Arok, Kampala Metropolitan police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said the businessman was interrogated about the source of his money and he provided evidence showing he had sold some of his assets in South Sudan.
“We saw all the agreements. The last agreement was signed in Kampala. He travelled from South Sudan to Kampala to connect to the UK later and then the robbery happened. Yes that’s true he manages some pension fund in South Sudan,” Owoyesigyire told The Observer.
According to police spokesperson Fed Enanga, Arok was robbed by Sipapa. He broke into Jacob Arok’s home in Kawuku-Bunga on August 28, 2022, and stole about $429,000(Shs 1.6 billion), four iPhones, Apple laptops, a Dell laptop, gold jewellery, a 65-inch Samsung television, and other valuable items.
On September 6, 2022, the Directorate of Crime Intelligence arrested Sipapa, who was allegedly on the police wanted list. He was arrested along with his girlfriend, Shamira Rukia Nakiyemba. They were charged with six counts of aggravated robbery and were subsequently remanded until September 19 and later October 10 for mention of their case.
On September 12, 2022, police said a team of forensic experts linked Sipapa’s fingerprints to 12 other crime scenes around the Kampala Metropolitan Area.
“This new development arose after his fingerprints matched DNA samples in our databases. This implies that the accused was one of the perpetrators at the respective scenes of crime in Bu- golobi, Kabalagala, Kira road, Jinja road, Kiwatule, Ntinda, and Kyanja Jomayi, among others,” police said in a statement.
Sipapa has since been tied to an organized criminal gang that breaks into apartments in Kampala. Interviewed in the immediate aftermath of the arrest of Sipapa, retired Lt. Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, a senior presidential advisor on Security, vowed to nail down all criminal gangsters riding on their connection with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Yoweri Museveni to steal and bully their way around.
In a recorded video clip, Gen Nalw- eyiso said she followed Sipapa for a long time and ordered the withdrawal of the socialite’s security detail.
“I don’t think theft charges against him are false. I have been following him and the police and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) are aware of it. He is one of the people leading groups of thugs who invade apartments and rob people of their laptops, phones, money, cars, and other belongings. I have been fighting with police over him,” she said.
Gen Nalweyiso said some people use meet-ups and photo opportunities with high-profile people to create a public impression that they are well connected. She said Sipapa projected an image of someone connected to the Special Forces Command (SFC), a force that protects the president and other high-profile persons.
“I urge the police and other concerned forces to hunt down such criminals,” she said.
She also warned the driver of an army green Land Cruiser.
“There is an army green numberless Land Cruiser V8 which is recklessly driven around Kampala city. It has a long wire, which resembles a signal wire. Its hind number plate has President Yoweri Museveni’s picture. He drives recklessly, but I want to warn him. Ugandans are good people, let him stop that hooligan- ism or be arrested,” she warned.
Brig Gen Nalweyiso, who retired from the army last month (August), said she has embarked on fighting criminal gangs terrorizing people in Uganda. She said Sipapa has been terrorizing people for a very long time and vowed to crack down on all people behaving like Sipapa.