The Anti-Corruption Court has extended the arrest warrant against Assistant Commissioner of Police Siraje Bakaleke Yesterday, when the case up for mention, state attorney Jonathan Okello told court that investigations were still ongoing and requested court to extend Bakaleke’s warrant of arrest and bail for his co-accused.
“Your worship, this case is coming up for mention and I pray warrant of arrest for Bakaleke be extended and bail for his co-accused,” he said.
This prompted court presided over by Grade One Magistrate Moses Nebende to adjourn the case to February14, for mention. This is the fifth time a warrant of arrest has been issued against Bakaleke over failure to show up in court. On November 19 last year, the Police top management declared Bakaleke a deserter after he absconded from duty.
Bakaleke was formerly the political education chief under the Police’s Directorate of Political Commissariat. Prior to this, he served as the regional Police commander of Kampala Metropolitan Police (South). Bakaleke with six other Police officers are facing 12 counts of abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretence, embezzlement, kidnapping with intent to confine a person.
His co-accused are Samuel Nabeta Mulowooza, 30, the managing director of Eye Power Engineering Company Limited and Police officers Robert Munezero, 31; Innocent Nuwagaba, 32; Robert Ray Asiimwe, 37; Junior Amanya, 28; Gastavas Babu, 27 and Kenneth Zirintusa, 26. All the officers, were suspended from their stations, pending investigations.
They are currently out on bail. The charge of embezzlement and kidnap attracts a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, abuse of office seven years, while conspiracy to defraud attracts three years in prison, on conviction. The accused are said to have defrauded three South Korean businessmen of $415,000 (about sh1.5b) in a gold scam on February 8 last year.
It is alleged that the policemen and others still at large, between February 4 and 7 last year, committed arbitrary acts by causing the illegal arrest and confinement of Jan Seungkwon, Park Seunghoon and Ha Dongsub, all South Korean nationals. Prosecution further alleges that the suspects in the same period kidnapped the Koreans with intent to cause them to be secretly and wrongfully confined.
Court records indicate that one of the policemen had promised to protect the Koreans in a suspected gold smuggling cartel from DR Congo, but their Ugandan agent rejected the deal, which prompted their arrest on alleged trumped-up terrorism charges. The Koreans were later detained at Katwe Police Station, where they spent a night, before being released on bond.