One of the Police officers on duty on the fateful day allegedly told relatives Nagirinya’s kidnap was not top on his priorities that night and that he would handle the matter the following day, the Police disciplinary court has heard.
On the night of August 28, unidentified men kidnapped driver Ronald Kitayimbwa and Nagirinya, a former employee of Community Integrated Development Initiative, an NGO from her home at the gate in Busega Lungujja before killing them and their bodies were later found dumped near a swamp in Mukono.
Following the kidnap and resultant murder of the duo, President Museveni ordered the immediate sacking and prosecution of police officers managing the CCTV camera command control centre in Nateete over negligence.
This followed reports from relatives including Nagirinya’s father who accused police of not helping them after the incident has just happened.
On Wednesday, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Juma Takirambudde, an officer from the Professional Standards Unit who also investigated the accused told the police disciplinary court sitting at Naguru that one corporal Samuel Owona was on the fateful day the officer deputizing the commander in charge of the CCTV command centre at Nateete.
“Basing on your self -recorded statement, you received a communication from the OC station (ASP Muhammad Byansi) informing you about the matter(kidnap) and you told him you would handle the matter in the morning,” Takirambudde told court.
Owona was also in charge of radio communications on the fateful day.
“When you were asked to take relatives to the CCTV camera control room, you said it would also be done the following morning.”
The witness said that Nagirinya’s vehicle that was used by the kidnappers was captured on camera at Kinawataka at around 12:52am moving at a speed of 41kilometres heading to Mukono.
“The vehicle passed by Katwe towards Mukono(where the bodies were dumped) and returned using the same route up to Nateete where it was dumped. If the officer had responded to the call, not only the victims would have been recovered but the other occupants of the vehicle would have been apprehended,” the witness told court.
In his statement after the incident, Museveni accused the officers at Nateete Police station of not caring when a report was made about Nagirinya’s kidnap.
“Take the case of Nagirinya. When she was kidnapped, the relatives, immediately, informed the Police of Kibumbiro Police post at Nateete, by about 00:43 hours. The officer there should have informed all the Police units and patrol cars and the camera centres about the type of car that had been hi-jacked. The cameras then would track that vehicle and those criminals would have been arrested or killed before they abandoned the car at Nateete, after dumping the bodies of the victims in Mukono,”Museveni said.
The furious Museveni wondered, “What is this- criminal negligence or collusion? Whatever it was, we are slowly moving forward. On account of the cameras and other technical means, we are now able to know who did not do his work. The Policemen in the camera centres were asleep, only waking up to “retrieve” pictures from the memory of the cameras.”
Just like Museveni’s statements showed negligence, the testimony of the officer from the Police Professional Standards Unit indicated the officers never cared.
“When the victim’s father came to report, one of the officers had removed his shoes and put his legs on top of the chair,” Takirambudde told court.
He accused the commanders on the fateful night of negligence saying that had they carried out their duties of supervising well, this would not have happened.
The court chairperson, Senior Commissioner of Police, Dennis Odongpiny adjourned the hearing to tomorrow Thursday.
A total of eight police officers including three Assistant Superintendents of Police – ASPs Muhammad Byansi – Officer in Charge of Natete Police Station, Andrew Nizeyimana – Natete OC CID and Allan Okello- Natete Patrol Commander are facing charges related to negligence of duty.
Other officers are Detective Assistant Inspector of Police Sande Baguma, Corporal Samuel Owona, Detective Reuben Kibikwamu, Police Constable Joshua Basaliza and Police Constable Deo Kitutu.
Prosecution led by Senior Superintendent of Police, Steven Ibanda accuses the group of negligence and discreditable conduct contrary to Section 44(1) of the Police Act.