Two Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers and one officer from the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) have been arrested over alleged illegal raiding of several gaming outlets. Since February this year, gaming outlets around the central business district in the areas of Kyebando, Kisaasi,Kikaya and Bukoto have lost millions to the security officers.
According to a statement filed at Kira Police Station under SD REF 62/04/12/2018, the group has been impersonating enforcement officers from the National Gaming Board Uganda (NGBU) while confiscating machines and extorting money from unsuspecting owners of gaming outlets.
The suspects, who are being held at Kira Police Station, include Robert Mugumya, a UPDF officer,service number RO/10076, a captain and Augustine Ngabirano, from the UPS, file number 7245, a sergeant warder. Others include Mark Mugume, also from the UPDFand Mugisha Joseph, a businessman, according to documents found on them during the arrest.
At least 15 cases had been lodged against the group. NGBU is a Government body mandated by law to supervise and regulate the establishment and operations of lotteries, gaming, betting and casinos, to protect the citizens from the adverse effects of gaming in Uganda.
As of last year, there were about 54 registered gaming outlets countrywide. According to the statement, the group would pose as enforcement officials and issue fake identity cards to their victims. Once they impounded a gaming machine, they would demand between sh500,000 to sh1m for each machine to be returned.
How they were arrested
Acting on a tip off, investigative officers attached to NGBU said the group was carrying out an operation in Kisassi, when they laid a trap for them at one of the registered gaming outlets.
“We got them with forged documents carrying our enforcementactivities. We tracked them and caught them redhanded,” Jonathan Kyeyune, thehead of public and corporate affairs
“They were confident, even when we took them to police. Our investigative officers had to show identity cards to prove that they were actually our staff that had arrested them because they were in plain clothes,” Kyeyune said.
The group was busted on Wednesday at about 4:00pm, in the company of the two police officers attached to Wandegeya Police Station. The group was travelling in a pickup truck belonging to a Government agency, registration number UAA 034E (blue plates).
They allegedly forged headed letters and took them to Wandegeya police station, identifying themselves as Government officials to get security.
600 machines impounded
Upon arrest, further investigations by the officers revealed that they had impounded more than 600 machines from different locations.Officials say the numbers could be higher because most gaming outlets still operate illegally. The impounded machines were being kept at a residential building allegedly owned by Mugumya’s mother along School Road, about 200 meters away from Kisassi roundabout.
“An investigation is being carried out. Weare sure there are more suspects,” Kyeyune said.