Police officer accuses boss, five others of torture, theft

Evidence. Constable Robert Obeti displays results of an X-ray scan following the alleged torture. PHOTO BY JOSEPH KATO.

What you need to know:

  • Accused. Constable Robert Obeti accuses Commissioner of Police Martin Mugume of ordering his juniors to torture him.

A junior police officer has dragged the commandant of Police Canine Unit and five others to Makindye Magistrate’s court, accusing them of torturing him, fracturing his backbone and stealing his money.
Constable Robert Obeti said Mr Martin Mugume, the Commissioner of Police, ordered his juniors led by Assistant Inspector of Police, Mr Alvelino Ngabirano, to arrest him on Christmas Day, accusing him of dodging duty yet he had explained he was unwell.
Mr Obeti alleges that he was beaten, slapped, kicked and his private parts squeezed by his tormentors and his backbone and joints fractured, costing him more than Shs2m in medical bills.
“I was dragged in a police pick-up truck and detained at Kabalagala Police Station for two days before I was released on bond. They charged me with threatening violence, claiming I wanted to stab them with a knife,” Mr Obeti said.
Mr Obeti also says when he returned to his house at Nsambya Police Barracks, he realised his money (Shs450,000) was missing. The officer then returned to Kabalagala Police Station to file a case of torture and theft but was reportedly turned down by the officer-in-charge of Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
“I was in pain and bleeding. I could not just watch as my rights had been violated. I went to Gogonya Police Post and I opened a case against the officers who had mistreated me and stolen my money,” he said.
In the case file that Daily Monitor has seen, Mr Obeti claims he was tortured and detained while naked by officers, who included AIP Ngabirano, Sgt Gabriel Kyesiimo, Cpl Herbet Nangore, Constable Katarikawe, Constable Murungi and Constable Joel Obwok.
Cpl Ivan Natukwatsa, a driver with the police Fire Brigade Directorate, confirms that his colleague, Mr Obeti, was taken into cells only dressed in an underpants.
“Me and another colleague who took him clothes at Kabalagala Police Station. He was in pain and bleeding. We failed to understand the offence he had committed to deserve such a mistreatment,” Cpl Natukwatsa said.
Mr Obeti took his case file to police’s Professional Standards Unit (PSU), which was then commanded by Commissioner of Police, Mr Good Mwesigwa, before he was dismissed by Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, over allegations of extortion.
“We severally moved to PSU but there was no help. We later learnt that our file had been put in an envelope and hidden at PSU. We had lost hope but we resumed soon after CP Mwesigwa was sacked from PSU,” Mr Obeti says.
CP Mwesigwa was dismissed from PSU three weeks after he replaced Senior Commissioner Joel Aguma, who was arrested by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) over illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees. Gen Kayihura replaced CP Mwesigwa with Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr John Williams Okalany, whom he describes as an honest and incorruptible officer.
“We went back to PSU and ACP Okalany helped us to trace the file. He ordered OC CID Kabalagala to take the file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for sanctioning because the officers’ actions were inhumane and criminal,” Mr Obeti says.
Accompanied by Cpl Natukwatsa, Mr Obeti took the file to Kabalagala OC CID as guided by ACP Okalany, but they claim they were instead abused by the CID boss who is more senior in rank.

Going to court
Cpl Natukwatsa, who claims he was once mistreated by CP Mugume, advised Mr Obeti to head to Makindye Magistrate’s Court where resident senior state attorney, Ms Nabagala Grace Ntege, has twice written to OC CID asking him to submit the file, which he hasn’t done.
“We are in receipt of a complaint in respect of the above cited case file [SD 03/36/36/12/2017. Urgently forward the police file to this office to enable us address the complaint lodged,” Ms Nabagala’s latest letter addressed to Kabalagala OC CID on February 13, reads.
Mr Obeti and Natukwatsa accused CP Mugume of frustrating the case, However, Mr Mugume denied frustrating Mr Obeti’s case, claiming it is being investigated by the OC CID and urged constable Obeti to be patient.
“What I know is that matter now involves court and he must be patient because the court process is on. I know he is accusing fellow officers of torturing him but they also accuse him of threatening violence,” Mr Mugume said.