We are not hijacking police mandate, says ISO boss
Kampala- The Director General of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), Col (Rtd) Frank Kaka Bagyenda has said their recent participation in arresting suspects involved in various crimes is not aimed at taking over the mandate of the Uganda police but to render support to the sister security agency.
Col Bagyenda told journalists at ISO headquarters in Kampala on Tuesday that security agencies cannot work in isolation when the country is facing high rates of criminality and impunity.
“ISO is not taking over the role of the police neither are we in conflict with them but we are only providing support. In this work of ending rampant criminality in Kampala Metropolitan and elsewhere, we are working with External Security Organization and the police,” Col Bagyenda said.
There have been public concerns on why ISO a security organ tasked with spying or intelligence work has been arresting suspects, a role that is supposed to be handled by the Uganda Police Force.
Such concerns increased after ISO and the police were reportedly involved in a clash over which of the two agencies should take charge of the home of Ms Christine Mbabazi said to be a former girlfriend of slain former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
Col Bagyenda said ISO, through its branches across the country has been overwhelmed by information about high level crimes like human trafficking and car theft something that contributes to insecurity in some parts of the country.
He said since all security agencies have joined hands to fight crime in the country, there is hope that impunity, criminality, defiance, corruption networks and all forms of economic crimes would be curbed.
“Police work in Uganda is intelligence led and that is what we do. But if we arrest suspects we hand them over to the police for onward management because we do not have cells. But there is no conflict with the police at all,” said.
During the press conference, the ISO boss paraded two suspects who have allegedly been involved in car theft and aiding human trafficking in the country.
Suspect speak out
A car thief suspect, Mr Godfrey Mubiru Kayongo a resident of Namasuba in Kampala, told journalists that he has been driving stolen cars from Kampala to the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Arua border for the last 12 years.
The 29-year-old was arrested early this month after he was caught with a Mitsubishi Canta truck registration number UBB 376M that had been stolen from Mr Rauben Kisakye who operates a garage in Rubaga, Kampala.
“I am paid a maximum of Shs500,000 to carry out one assignment. I am always aware that the cars are stolen but I drive them since I have to earn a living,” Mr Kayondo said.
He, however, declined to reveal the car dealers who have been hiring him.
Also paraded was Ms Betty Nankunda, 26, a resident of Mityana District who ISO officers say has been receiving money from victims of human trafficking on behalf of her brother, Mr Kenneth Tumwesigye who has been taking Ugandans to Thailand.
Ms Nankunda was arrested on Tuesday as she tried to sell one of the plots that her brother had acquired from Mr Deogratious Byamukama in Kakiri Town Council, Wakiso District.
Mr Byamukama left Uganda in June 2017 to work as a teacher Thailand. He is now stranded in Malaysia where Mr Tumwesigye sent him.
Mr Byamukama’s wife, Ms Haume Akandunda told journalists that Mr Tumwesigye asked her husband to sell the plot and send him Shs5 million to process a work permit for her stranded husband.
Two other Ugandans who recently returned from Thailand after what they described as “months of suffering” in the hands of Mr Tumwesigye were paraded before the media.
The ISO boss said his officers are ready to break down the human trafficking and car hijacking rackets using the hard core criminals who after being arrested accept to help security in demolishing the criminal networks.