KAMPALA- State minister for Water Ronald Kibuule is embroiled in another controversy after he beat up a private security guard, who had insisted that he undergoes a routine security check at a Mukono bank. The minister later, reportedly ordered the police to arrest the guard on libel offences.
Ms Hellen Obuku, a private security guard attached to Stanbic Bank Mukono, was arrested by police officers, but she collapsed as she was being taken to Mukono Police Station to record a statement.
Police officers took Ms Obuku to Mukono Health Centre where they kept her under guard for more than 12 hours until she gained her consciousness. Mr Kibuule, the complainant, had not even recorded a statement with police, but police preferred an offence of libel against Ms Obuku. Libel happens when a person unlawfully publishes any defamatory matter concerning another person, with intent to defame that person. On Wednesday, the guard also opened a case of assault against Mr Kibuule.
Mr Kibuule yesterday denied beating up the guard, and later on contacting and ordering police to arrest her.
“She has a mental problem; that is what the police told me. I didn’t call the (district police commander) DPC, it was some other man, whom she also harassed that called police,” he said yesterday.
The minister said even the bank had apologised to him for the embarrassment caused to him.
But Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said Mr Kibuule called the police to “intervene in the case” at the bank.
“Police responded to a complaint raised by Honourable Kibuule that he was being manhandled and abused by a guard at the bank despite identifying himself to her. The officers intervened and took the guard to police, but she collapsed on the way. Later her statement was recorded and she was left to go,” Mr Kayima said yesterday.
The incident stemmed from a disagreement between Mr Kibuule and Ms Obuku over a search.
Mr Franco Sande, the private security company supervisor, said Ms Obuku told him that Mr Kibuule arrived at the bank and wanted to access the bank premises without going through the security checks.
“The guard told me that he refused to be searched as per the standards of the bank. She said he told him that he was a minister and couldn’t be searched. The guard stood her ground that he will not enter the bank without fulfilling the bank standards,” Mr Sande said.
The angry Kibuule then reportedly grabbed the guard and beat her up before flinging her away.
The minister then entered the bank and continued with his business.
Mr Kibuule insisted that he had only cautioned Ms Obuku to follow search procedure that mandates a man to search a man but Ms Obuku was adamant.
Mr Sande said the guard recollected herself and went back to her post and kept quiet.
Mr Sande said he was called by Mukono DPC Fred Ahimbisibwe, ordering him to replace Ms Obuku because she had a criminal case.
“I told him (Ahimbisibwe) that I didn’t have enough manpower. But he insisted. So I went to the bank to take her to the police station. That is when she collapsed,” he said.
Ms Obuku was admitted to hospital later. Mr Sande said Mr Ahimbisibwe sent several police officers to Ms Obuku’s hospital bed to prevent her from escaping. When she got better, she told police the same version told by Mr Sande before she was released as they investigate assault charges against the guard.
Mr Kayima was evasive on what offences to charge the guard given the fact that Mr Kibuule hasn’t recorded a statement.
“It (case) is too early to conclude. We may administratively just talk to the two people,” he said.
Past incidents involving Kibuule
Minister Kibuule is no stranger to controversy. In July, Mr Abdullah Kiwanuka, the former Mukono North parliamentary candidate, claimed that he was arrested by police officers led by the DPC, Mr Fred Ahimbisibwe, on allegations that he took photographs of prisoners working at Mr Kibuule’s home in Mbalala, Mukono District.
Mr Kiwanuka said he was bundled into a car by Mr Ahimbisibwe, the district investigations and traffic officers and driven to Mr Kibuule’s home where he said he alleged that he was beaten.
“When I reached there, [Mr] Kibuule manhandled me, boxed me and threatened to kill me with bullets. All this was done in presence of the DPC, several police officers, including his bodyguards, [and] my supporters,” Mr Kiwanuka said.
He said he was forced to apologise to Mr Kibuule. He was later driven back to Mukono Police Station and let go without any charge.
Mr Kibuule confirmed that his cameras captured Mr Kiwanuka photographing his private home, but said he doesn’t recall beating him. He wondered why Mr Kiwanuka didn’t report the case to police.