Uganda Elections 2016
Police deny breaking into offices
Posted Thursday, March 10 2016 at 15:46
The police yesterday took exception to assertion made by lawyer Mohammad Mbabazi and his client, former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi, that they were behind early yesterday morning’s break-in at the two legal chambers in the city centre.
Mr Asan Kasingye, the chairman of inter-agency communication task force, said accusations levied by the lawyers against the police institution are false and absurd.
“What we resent is how the politicians and, in particular, counsel Mohammad Mbabazi, are going around saying it is police responsible for the break-in. It is not helpful at this stage for anybody to start insinuating that police broke into office promise because we didn’t do that,” Mr Kasingye, who doubles as the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Interpol, said.
Documents were stolen in the early morning break-in at a time when Mr Mbabazi’s legal team were expected to file the affidavits supporting his petition calling for the cancellation of the February 18 presidential elections, in which President Museveni was declared winner.
Mr Mohammad Mbabazi, the lead counsel of Mr Amama Mbabazi’s legal team, accused police of breaking into the offices. He said Closed Circuit Television showed some attackers dressed in police uniforms. Another break-in happened simultaneously at another Mbabazi key lawyer, Mr Fred Muwema’s offices located on Windsor Crescent in Kololo. Mr Mbabazi told an afternoon press conference that the police were behind the break-in.
Mr Amama Mbabazi’s lawyers said their private security guard reported the case at Wandegeya Police Station at 3am, but they only responded six hours later. The private security officer, who reported the case, was allegedly arrested by police soon after.
In response, Mr Kasingye said such a sensitive case can’t be investigated by a police counter officer. “Such case requires skilled police officers such as scene-of-crime officers, who may not have been around at the time. The only thing the counter officer could have done was to go and secure the scene,” he said.
Mr Kasingye said the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has appointed a team led by the Commandant of Special Investigations Division, Mr Mark Odongo, to investigate the case.
The team will coordinate with the Electoral and Political Offences Department and the Cyber Crime Unit “to actively and thoroughly investigate the breakings and quick as possible”.
Police also denied arresting Mr Mbabazi’s supporters around the country, who are supposed to testify in the ongoing election petition in the Supreme Court.
“The allegation, therefore, that suspects have been arrested by police to purposely hinder the ongoing electoral petition is unequivocally false, offensive and not supported by any facts whatsoever,” he said.
Mr Mbabazi’s lawyers on Monday told court that 13 of his supporters had been arrested and detained at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka, and the Special Operations Unit at Nalufenya in Jinja District. In response, Chief Justice Bart Katureebe ordered Attorney General Freddie Ruhindi to rein in on security agencies from making unlawful arrests.