Onebe’s home CCTV footage goes missing

Wednesday September 15 2021
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A fire brigade truck parked outside the home of Mr Francis Onebe after a body suspected to be that of his wife Immaculate Asio was found in a septic tank in their home in Munyonyo, Kampala last week. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Benson Tumusiime
By Andrew Bagala

The Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras that were installed in the Munyonyo home of Francis Onebe have been dismantled, according to detectives investigating the circumstances of the presumed murder of his wife Immaculate Mary Blessings Asio.

The chief executive of Pentagon Security company disappeared under unclear circumstances on January 6, with the husband initially claiming that state security agencies abducted her close to home and drove her to an unknown location.

However, following a tip off by a former body guard at the home of the Onebes, police recovered a slightly decomposed body of a woman they believe to be Asio in the family septic tank.

A DNA test is pending to ascertain if the deceased is Asio which, if confirmed, will raise questions about the veracity of initial narrative that she was in custody of security forces.

Investigators are also scouring for leads on whether the woman was killed elsewhere and the body brought and dumped in the septic tank or whether she met her death at home.

Detectives on the case also said a sack containing what they initially believed to be bricks and stones contained, to their consternation, a human skull and bones.

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A DNA test is being done at the Government Analytical Laboratory to find out if these could be remains of a house-help reported to have disappeared at the same time of the alleged abduction of Asio back in January.

Police said they were looking at the prospect of double murder over which a former security guard and auditor Onebe, both held on presumptive murder charges, have remained in custody for six days, beyond the 48 hours within which they should have been already arraigned in court and formally charged as provided in the constitution.

Mr Onebe is expected to be freed on police bond today, according to a source familiar with the probe.

Another source intimated to this newspaper that police had not sent the auditor’s case file to the Director of Public Prosecution because it had not been established that the bodies retrieved from the septic tank were those of missing Asio and the maid.

And Mr Onebe himself has raised doubts that the bodies found at his premises were of the missing persons.

As the unanswered questions piled, police said they found that the CCTV cameras at the couple’s residence on Dr Kaggwa Rise were disconnected, but the wires remained on the walls.

The carpets had also been changed alongside the curtains and they were washed and stored in the Boy’s Quarter.

The wall of the main house was repainted. Police said they could not immediately establish the motive and person behind the revamp, which has the potential to conceal or destroy incriminating evidence, including sample collection for DNA analysis.   

As a result, detectives recovered no footage, which would have shown the events leading up to or after the disappearance of Asio.

Sources familiar to this investigation told this newspaper that investigators established that before the wife of Francis Onebe went missing in January, the residence had cameras installed inside but two months after the wife went missing, the whole house was changed.

“The house was repainted, cameras were uninstalled, furniture was changed the old ones were washed and put in his boy’s quarters and changed the interior curtains. This leaves us as investigators in a bad way because the scene was tampered with and there is no evidence to connect to a murder case,” the source said.

According to another source, the investigators started recording statements of different witnesses - among them two guards, three in-laws to Onebe and his relatives --- in search of possible clues for securing credible evidence.

“We have recorded statements from the two girls who were staying with the deceased, the driver of Francis Onebe, three relatives of the deceased, the daughter of the deceased Ms Ivy Inapo,” the source said.

Mr Onebe has maintained his innocence and said he was unsure whether the recovered bodies were those of his household members.

“We have picked saliva samples of the daughter to the deceased and we have submitted them to the Government Analytical Laboratory (GAL) for Deoxyribonucleic Acid ( DNA) test and when results come today, we shall know whether the body that was picked in the septic tank was that [of the] wife to Francis Onebe or not,” added the source.  

Investigations

Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson, last Thursday said they were treating Mr Onebe, a managing partner at Price and King Certified Public Accountants, in connection with the presumed murder of his wife, Asio.

Detectives from Homicide unit at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters in Kibuli, Kampala, have since taken over inquiries of the case originally lodged at Kabalagala Police Station in Makindye Division.

Spies from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, the investigative arm of the army, have also taken interest because Mr Onebe early in the year mentioned the outfit among those possibly holding his missing wife.

Mr Charles Twine, the CID spokesperson, last week confirmed that Mr Onebe and his former security guard, Mr Emma Oriokot, had recorded statements with police, but he declined to divulge the details.

“What the suspect said in our statements constitutes evidence and that evidence can only be consumed by police, office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), defence lawyers and court, but it’s not for public consumption,” he said.


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