KATWE Police Division is on the spot after investigations by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) revealed that several of its officers were allegedly perpetuating bodaboda robberies.
According to ISO findings, junior Police officers at various Police posts and stations in Katwe Division reportedly work with their seniors to process the release on bond of suspects arrested in bodaboda robberies, thereby perpetuating the cycle of motorcycle thefts.
The Police bosses are also said to be shielding the buyers of the stolen motorcycles instead of charging them.
It has also emerged that the policemen have taught the robbers how to use coded language while communicating on the phone so as to avoid being detected by other security agencies that might be tapping their conversations.
“In one of the cases, we discovered that a robber had got a bike which he wanted to sell, but he did not know that we had arrested the buyer. So, when he called early in the morning at around 5:00 am, he said he had a ‘James’. So, we asked him to call back later and we asked the buyer what ‘James’ meant. He told us that it was a motorcycle of UAJ series. Then we asked the suspect to tell the robber to bring it to his shop and we arrested him,” narrated an ISO operative who is part of the probe.
This suspect is one of about 10 bodaboda robbery suspects arrested, including prominent buyers who were paraded before journalists recently.
Operatives have also arrested a policeman, Yasin Lusiba, attached to Katwe Police Station, together with Balabaye Nalukoola Sserwadda, the Katwe I parish defense secretary, to help them with investigations. Lusiba and Sserwadda are accused of helping suspected bodaboda robbers to process Police bond whenever they are arrested, especially within Katwe Police Division. However, the two denied being part of the bodaboda robbery racket.
“Although I participate in the arrest of suspects and impounding of the stolen motorbikes, it is my bosses who sign the release orders. I do not have the powers to release a suspect or an impounded bodaboda,” Lusiba said.
The probe on Katwe Police Division followed reports that the motorcycle which was stolen from Derrick Mulindwa after he was gruesomely murdered at Kakeeka in Lubaga division, was impounded and taken to one of the Police stations in Katwe, but it was mysteriously released.
The bike was reportedly later sold and transported to DR Congo through Arua, allegedly with the help of a policeman attached to the Police Fire Brigade. The ISO boss, Co (rtd) Frank Bagyenda Kaka, said they are on the verge of busting the entire racket.
“We are investigating circumstances under which bodabodas impounded by Police during arrests end up disappearing from their stations. In this particular case of Kakeeka, we want to establish the entire chain, including the said buyers in Uganda and DR Congo,” Kaka said.
When contacted about the involvement of Katwe Police Division officers in bodaboda robberies, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the Police also relies on ISO’s intelligence reports to carry out their operations. Kaka said they are also probing clues linking some politicians to bodaboda robberies.