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Why, how crocodile hearted police officer Baguma will get off the hook

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First published by Change of Guards blog on August 17, 2016

SUPERINTENDENT ARON BAGUMA

Aron Baguma Shillingi joined the police as a cadet in 2012. After the two years basic training, he was attached to Kampala’s Central Police Station (CPS).  He was soon confirmed as an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) an appointed the Officer Commanding (O.C) of CPS.  In April 2015, together with other 120 senior officers he was selected to attend a four months military training at the Army’s Oliver Tambo School of leadership at Kaweweta in Nakaseke in preparation for the rigging of the February 2016 general elections.

Upon return from that course, he resumed his role as O.C CPS.  In September 2015, he was elevated to the position of Commander of the Kampala Central District.  In November 2015, he was indicted by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for murder but Museveni shielded him from criminal proceedings. Instead in February 2016 Museveni promoted him from the rank of ASP to Superintendent of Police (SP).  Until late last month when he was selected to attend a senior Staff and Command course, he had excelled in brutalizing the predominantly opposition leaning residents of Kampala city central business district.

KIDNAP WITH INTENT TO MURDER

On October 21, 2015 SP Baguma contracted by a businessman to help him recover his debt, deployed three junior police officers and a crime Preventer/informer Paul Tibisangika to kidnap Betty Katusabe who owned 9M shillings to the said businessman.  She was kidnapped from around Kiseka Market in Kampala from where she was driven to her home in Bwebajja on Entebbe Road for a search.  They booked at Bwebajja Police Post before proceeding to her home.

From there she was brought straight to Pine Car Bond on Lumumba Avenue and handed over to its proprietor, Muhamad Ssebuwufu.  Betty Katusabe owned Ssebuwufu 9M that had been the balance of the balance from sale of a car.  Ssebuwufu embarked on assaulting Katusabe as he demanded for his money.  The three police officers who had arrested Katusabe were leaving, Ssebuwufu told them that he would handle the matter.  Ssebuwufu then embarked on assaulting Katusabe with a machete and sticks on the thighs and the back while being assisted by his workers and Paul Tibisangika.  He kept telling his victim that if she does not pay his money, she would be killed.

BAGUMA’S ROLE IN THE MURDER

At around 3.00 p.m. on the same day, SP Baguma in the company of other police officers went to Pine Car Bond and found Katusabe being tortured in Ssebuwufu’s office.  Baguma asked Katusabe to pay Ssebuwufu’s 9M.  After holding a brief discussion with Ssebuwufu, Baguma was set to leave when he told Ssebuwufu to handle the issue of Katusabe and that if he fails he should call him.  As Baguma was leaving the office, Katusabe pleaded with him not to heave her behind because Ssebuwufu and group were determined to kill her but Baguma simply ignored her and left the office.

Ssebuwufu accompanied him to his car where he was seen handing him money.  The torture continued until at 7.00 p.m. when Katusabe went into comma and Ssebuwufu called Baguma who sent a Police car to take he to CPS which is a few meters away.  However, before she could be ushered into the main entrance of CPS, she died at the door steps and the police took the body to Mulago Hospital mortuary.  According to the post-mortem report, the 42 years old Banker had died due to multiple blunt force trauma.  She was buried at Karambi, in Kasese District.

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS AND BRIBERY

The principal suspect, Ssebuwufu was arrested on murder charges vide CRB/1471/2015 – MURDER. The case was being handled under the supervision of the O.C CID at CPS, J.B Ajugo who was also reporting to the KMP CIID, Rebeca Namugenyi.  However, upon payment of 100M shillings to the same police officers by Ssebuwufu, he was released.  The CIID officers had plotted to make the murder of Katusabe look like it has been a mob justice by unknown people.  When the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kalekyezi learned that the family of the deceased with assistance of big shots like former Defence Minister Kiyonga, he moved very fast to save Baguma by tasking him to prepare a report on the incident.  It was on this report that Kalekyezi sought to exonerate Baguma as Whistle Blower just in the same way Museveni exonerated Gender Ministry Permanent Secretary Pius Bigirimana from the multi billion financial scum. He suspended the KMP CIID, Rebeca Namugenyi and assigned his Deputy Director CIID, Godfrey Musana to take over the case.  Musana worked with the then KMP Commander, Abas Byakagaba and the Flying Squad to rearrest of Ssebuwufu and his workers.

SP BAGUMA SHIELDED FROM PROSECUTION

In mid December 2015, the Resident State Attorney (RSA) of Buganda sanctioned Murder charges against Ssebuwufu and others and they were remanded to prison.  The DPP directed the RSA to have Baguma and other police officers to be arrested and charged together with Ssebuwufu and others.  His decision was premised on the statement on record that had been recorded in November 2015 by one of the accused, Tibasingika Paulo who had been part of the arresting party.  However, the police top leadership could not afford hearing any of such crap.  In November 2015, Kalekyezi instructed his D/Director CIID to carry out a joint inquiry together with the Police Professional Standard Unit (PSU) into the alleged involvement of Baguma in the murder.

The Police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga told a press conference   “…. the IGP argues that Baguma was the whistle blower against the mismanagement of the same case by SSP Rebeca Namugenyi.  The DPC CPS, Baguma was framed and the IGP wants the evidence disregarded and fresh investigations to be conducted.  The order of the DPP was wrong and based on rumors and intrigue involving police officers at CPS.  It was Baguma who called the IGP and informed him that various officers were trying to kill investigations into the murder of Katusabe.  Baguma never recorded a statement, how can you charge someone whose story you have never heard.”

The family of the deceased through their Lawyers wrote a letter to the DPP requesting him to ensure that DPC Baguma and other police officers are charged.  In early January 2016, the DPP directed the RSA Buganda Road to charge Baguma with murder jointly with Ssebuwufu and others. He further directed that they should also be charged with kidnap with intent to murder in alternative.  An Alternative Charge is a charge that is set aside as the likely alternative in case the main charge fails. The RSA is a staff off the DPP who is attached to Buganda Road Court with among other roles to oversee the criminal investigations, advise on investigations and sanction criminal charges by signing charge sheets.

But still the police could not afford to have any of such scrap but instead Museveni promoted Baguma to the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP).  In early February 2016, the DPP told the media that SP Baguma was not above the law and that he would be produced in court and charged with murder of Katusabe.  He added that the delay had been due to new information implicating about five more police officers from CPS in the same murder.  He said “…. we have received vital clues from people who had previously feared to reveal vital clues from people who had previously feared to reveal vital information.  The same information implicates about five more officers who were present at CPS.”

DPP UNRELENTING

There was a lull in the matter during the pre-election and post election period when the police and Baguma in particular were busy rigging and defending the rigged elections respectively. However, the IGP through his D/DCIID, Godfrey Musana busy attempting to intimidate and blackmail the DPP into dropping the charges against Baguma.  In late July 2016, the DPP gave the police a two weeks ultimatum to produce Baguma in Court or else he would amend the Charge-sheet and apply for criminal summons from Buganda Road Court against SP Baguma.  In his letter, he directed the Director of CIID to sign an amended Charge Sheet that was to include SP Baguma as accused number eight (A8) and return it for sanctioning.  Instead, IGP Kalekyezi moved very fast to save SP Baguma by selecting him for attendance of Senior Staff and Command Course.  Upon expiry of the two weeks, the DPP addressed a press conference where he disclosed that the RSA of Buganda Road was to amend the Charge Sheet to include SP Baguma and apply to court for Criminal Summons.

During the same press conference, the Deputy DPP, Ogwal expressed the frustrations that the DPP was experiencing from the police “…. this is not an isolated case but such happens usually when we summon people we don’t know to be produced in court and it is what we go through each day.”  Finally, on 12th August 2016, the Resident State Attorney tendered before Buganda Road court an amended charge sheet that included SP Baguma as A8 and in turn court issued Criminal Summons for the police to produce Baguma before it on 18th August 2016.  On 15th August 2016, the Police Spokesperson acknowledged that they had received the Criminal Summons against Baguma “…. we received the Criminal Summons but we are in talks with the DPP to have him produced in court at an appropriate time.”

On 16th August, the government through the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Jeje Odong for the first time said that SP Baguma must appear in court. That is the state of criminal justice in Uganda where all people are presumed to be equal before the law!!!!  You just need to close your eyes and imagine what went through the soul of the deceased as she pleaded with the crocodile hearted SP Baguma not to leave her behind with the killers.  Ancient Banyankole expressed rage by saying “keitwe Abanyarwanda” (be killed by Banyarwanda) in reference to the brutality that was meted on them by victorious Banyarwanda during battle between the two kingdoms.

ISSUES

–    Who and where are the other police officers who were sent by SP Baguma to arrest the deceased?

–    Who and where are the other police officers who were in the company of Baguma at scene of crime?

–     How innocent are the CIID officers who took the 100M shs bribe before releasing Ssebufu and mismanaging the case?  How much damage was caused by their actions to the investigation?

–     How safe is the evidence that is in the custody of the police that is opposed to Baguma’s prosecution?

–     Which police investigator will come to court to positively incriminate SP Baguma when Kalekyezi is the IGP?

–     How safe are the principal witnesses like Paul Tigisingika, shall we see some of them ‘bumped off’ or being intimidated and blackmailed to turn into hostile witnesses after retracting their statements while others are made to disappear?

–     Owing to the vested interest already expressed by the police, why can’t the IGG take over the criminal investigation of this case?

CONCLUSION

SP Baguma’s rapid rise in rank and selective deployment to the strategic command of the central district of Kampala city was because he is a ‘home boy’.  Given his ‘exemplary performance’ in brutalising and suppressing the enemy (political opposition), he is rated highly than Dr. Besigye’s contribution in the bush war that brought Museveni to power.  Due to public pressure, he may appear in court but as usual once the dust settles, the case will die along the way.  Museveni will do anything to save him for fear that successful criminal proceedings against Baguma would demoralize other officers yet the struggle is still on. This matter is still thriving just because the DPP and IGP disagreed but when Museveni intervenes, the position will be harmonized and Baguma will get off the hook.  What about the earlier Murder case involving IP Kaweesa where the victim was killed in a police custody so as to destroy evidence?

INFORMATION IS POWER AND DEFIANCE IS THE WAY TO GO.

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