KAMPALA- Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court Wednesday stopped journalists from covering the trial of a police detective suspected to have stolen recordings of the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura and leaked them to several media outlets.
The position was reached after the State prosecutor, Mr Lino Anguzu raised a preliminary objection, seeking court to hear the trial in camera on grounds that the nature of evidence available, once publicised might cause disorder in police and Cabinet.
He cited Article 28 (2) of the Constitution, Section 40 (1) of the Magistrates Courts Act and Section 14 (2) of the Official Secrets Act that give magistrates the right to hear such cases in camera.
Mr Anguzu said: “The suspect, Mr Ronald Poteri is facing charges of wrongful communication and leaking information which has never been classified, which information is likely to be given as part of evidence during the trial.”
He said the evidence available reveals police investigation tactics and that witnesses who are police officers would testify and reveal some confidential information which might cause a fracas once publicised.
MS Lillian Bucyana, the presiding magistrate agreed with Mr Anguzu’s concern and opted to hear the case in her chambers in the absence of journalists.
Prosecution alleges that in March 2014 at the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) headquarters in Kampala, Mr Poteri, being in possession of an official secret entrusted to him as a person holding an office of the government of Uganda, did pass on this confidential information to persons not authorised to receive it.
Two months ago, the head of the Political Crimes Desk, Mr Fred Mirondo, told Daily Monitor that the recordings in question were of Gen Kayihura talking to Mr Alex Kasirivu, an NRM supporter in Kayunga District.
The recordings are part of the 87 tapes of different persons interviewed in an ongoing investigation into an alleged plot to assassinate Gen Kayihura.
Police records indicate that Mr Poteri handed them to Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the wife of Prime Minister, Mr Amama Mbabazi.
Ms Mbabazi, who addressed a couple of press conferences in the past months, said she had recordings of Gen Kayihura coaching youth to pin her husband Mr Mbabazi as having ambitions to replace President Museveni in 2016.