Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four police officers have been arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court and charged with conspiracy to destroy evidence which was stored in the Criminal Investigations Office at Katwe police station in Kampala.
The four include Assistant Inspector of Police Apollo Kibuuka, Detective Constable Moses Okello, Karim Bakole and Sergent Mariah Nangobi. The court heard that between August and September 2020, they conspired with detective Prossy Candia who was charged with absentia to commit a felony by destroying cash exhibits of one million Shillings that was required as evidence in a judicial proceeding.
The evidence in question was recovered by AIP Kibuuka in a case of theft involving Lato Milk. Kibuuka is individually charged for concealing information about its recovery. According to the prosecution, the evidence was either removed or destroyed after one of the accused persons, Karim Bakole willfully and unlawfully set fire to the office of the Division CID Officer at Katwe Police Station on September 14, 2020.
Bakole was first arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Pamela Lamunu Ochaya individually and charged with three offences, arson which attracts a life sentence, abuse of office and destroying evidence. He denied all the charges. Moments later, Bakole was arraigned before Grade One Magistrate Abert Asiimwe and jointly charged with conspiracy to commit a felony by destroying the evidence.
However, the group denied the charges and asked to be released on bail citing that they have been kept under police custody for 11-days. The accused told court that by detaining them for more than the mandatory 48 hours guaranteed under the constitution without being produced in courts was a violation of their constitutional right.
They later presented sureties who included their friends and relatives. But the State Attorney Stanley Baine opposed the application citing that the accused were most likely to interfere with the ongoing investigations.
However in his ruling, the Magistrate granted all the accused persons a cash bail of 200,000 each considering the money involved in the case and Kibuuka who faces many charges was asked to pay 300,000 Shillings cash. Asiimwe also ordered the accused persons not to go back to Katwe police station unless the investigations are complete.
The Magistrate considered the fact that many people who were sent to prison during the COVID-19 pandemic suffer to apply for bail via video conferencing and the fact that the prisons need to be decongested to avoid the spread of the disease.
He adjourned the matter to October 8, 2020, for mention.
However, Detective Constable Karim Bakole has been taken to Kitalya government’s prison because when he appeared before the Chief Magistrate Pamela Lamunu Ochaya earlier, his bail was denied because of inconsistencies in the particulars of his sureties. He was remanded until October 15.