THE former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen. Kale Kayihura is seeking an audience with the US government over travel and economic sanctions imposed on him recently alongside his wife and children.
The US Treasury Department last week publicly designated Kayihura, rendering him ineligible to fly to the US or conduct financial transactions through the country’s banking system.
He was sanctioned “for having been a leader or official of an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse against Ugandan citizens, as well as for his involvement in corruption”.
Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement that they were targeting Kayihura for using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Kayihura and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by him alone or with other designated persons that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons, are blocked and must be reported to OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control)…” he said.
However, Kayihura issued a statement the following day, dismissing the allegations as “baseless, unverified and outrageous”.
Jet Tumwebaze, a partner with Kampala Associated Advocates, who is also Kayihura’s lawyer, told Saturday Vision that the aim of their engagements with several stakeholders was to debunk the claims.
“I really don’t want to give you details, but we have commenced some engagements with the view to correct that misinformation. That is our position with our client. We shall engage the characters within the US government because we do not think some of them contacted other departments. Had they, for example, talked to the FBI, the situation would have been different. Gen Kale can give case by case where the FBI participated,” he said.
“Why would a man who was presiding over a classified budget of over $100m smuggle a few kilograms of cocaine? Does it make sense to anybody above 18?” Tumwebaze asked.
“Why would a man who created an environmental protection Police and the wildlife protection Police unit be involved in exporting wildlife? If he was involved, would we still be having wildlife because he was the one in charge of that Police? So really, it is just ridiculous,” he added.
Tumwebaze contended that if the US says their client presided over torture through command responsibility of the disbanded Flying Squad Unit, they should cite the cases.
“Who was tortured and from which prison, because most of those reported torture cases were investigated and files are available at the Police Standard Unit. Some policemen are serving sentences for having engaged in torture and as a leader, all you need is to put in place a mechanism to address those problems. You can’t be responsible for the actions of nearly 40,000 policemen,” he argued.
“Are you telling me that a Police chief of the US state, for example of California, is responsible for all those Policemen shooting unarmed black men? No. You charge those individual police officers who have shot those men and make them explain themselves. You can’t arrest the police chief,” he said.