UGANDA: Journalists grilled for disclosing Central Bank director’s theft of public funds
Former executive director of supervision at Bank of Uganda, Ms Justine Bagyenda. FILE PHOTO
Police grill journalists for ‘disturbing peace’ of outgoing BOU director Justine Bagyenda
KAMPALA (DAILY MONITOR) – Four of the 12 editors of online publications that allegedly published leaked bank details of outgoing executive director of supervision at Bank of Uganda, Ms Justine Bagyenda were on Tuesday grilled by detectives at the Crime Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CID) headquarters, Kibuli but some declined to appear.
Last month, Ms Bagyenda dragged the online media houses to CID claiming they published her leaked bank, mobile money details and photographs of her alleged property.
CID spokesperson Vicent Ssekate confirmed the development saying those who appeared recorded statements before being released on bond pending further investigations. He, however, did not reveal what charges were preferred against the editors neither did he name those who appeared. They were represented by City lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo.
“Four appeared, recorded statements and released on bond. Others did not appear and we encourage them to come so that their statements are recorded,” Mr Ssekate said.
Daily Monitor has since learnt that those who appeared were charged with three counts of; criminal libel, disturbing peace of Ms Bagyenda and computer misuse.
Those grilled by detectives included Mr Raymond Wamala, the director of Spy Reports who appeared with his editor, Mr Bob Atwiine. Others are, Mr Andrew Irumba of Spy Uganda News, Mr Tadeo Ssenynonyi of Business Focus and Mr John Njoroge of CEO Magazine.
“We recorded statements in which we denied the charges against us. In the statements we also stated that the information published was true. And we are ready to defend ourselves,” Mr Wamala said.
He added that, after their questioning by a one Superintendent of Police Kayizi, they were let go without any written bond and were not informed of when they would report back.
Commenting on Bagyenda complaint, Mr Opiyo said: “Instead of focusing on the frivolity of the complaint by Justin Bagyenda and her attempt to muzzle press reporting on her alleged impropriety, police seems obsessed with whether the online publications are registered with UCC!”
“In a serious criminal justice system, a public official suspected of illicit wealth accumulation – who hasn’t denied the same but only claims invasion of privacy – would be under police investigation-not courageous online journalists who have exposed these claims.”
Meanwhile, lawyers representing some of the journalists had a day before written to CID critising the manner in which their clients have been handled in regard to Bagyenda complaints. The lawyers expressed concern over failure by police to issue written summonses for the editors to appear.
According to the letter dated May 21 and written by Galisonga & Co. Advocates to CID, the journalists have only heard from various media houses about summonses requiring them to appear at CID headquarters for questioning instead of being officially served.
Among the editors represented by Galisonga & Co. Advocates are; Mr Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online), Mr Darius Mugisha (Matooke Republic), Mr Giles Muhame (ChimpReports), Mr Deo Senono (Business Focus) and Mr Andrew Irumba (Spy Uganda). They all did not appear at the CID headquarters, Kibuli on Tuesday.
“The attention of Messrs, Richard Wanambwa, Darius Mugisha, John Njoroge, Giles Muhame and several others, has been drawn to several reports in the media that your office is requiring their attendance to your office for purposes captured in the subject. We are instructed to verify these reports with your office and to request that if they be true, kindly channel the summonses to our office so we can advise them on what to do,” reads in part the letter from lawyers to CID.
Mr Wanambwa told this reporter that the police had wanted them to go and pick their respective summonses from CID headquarters but they refused, reasoning that instead, the police should serve them.
Ms Bagyenda came into limelight after Bank of Uganda took over the management of Crane Bank earlier last year over allegations of mismanagement and later sold it to dfcu Bank.
Being the officer-in-charge of banks supervision, Ms Bagyenda became a subject of interest to the media with the aforementioned online publications picking interest in her leaked “fat” bank details and mobile money transactions.
When her bank details were leaked, the concerned banks reacted by apologizing to her and reprimanding or vowing to reprimand any of their staff found culpable of leaking Ms Bagyenda’s account details. —— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: May 24, 2018 at 11:01AM