Police’s mineral unit officers accused of robbing Gambian national Sh240m

All is not well at Minerals Police Protection Unit (MPPU) and heads are set to roll anytime from now.

Information obtained indicates that several officers attached to the unit have either been arrested or under probe following their alleged involvement in the robbery of a Gambian national.

Trouble for Minerals unit cops started last year when a Gambian national (names withheld for now) picked interest in Uganda’s lucrative gold business.

But along the process he was reportedly scammed USD60000 (about sh240 million) by sharp gold dealers in the city.

He raised an alarm and Minerals Police picked interest.

In a twist of events, he was arrested and taken to Minerals Police offices in Naguru.

Upon his arrest, he was reportedly searched and more USD120000 was found on him.

Following investigations which exonerated him of any wrongdoing but just a victim of scammers, he was shocked to learn that out of the USD120000 which cops had taken from him for safe custody, had been tampered with: USD60000 (about sh240m) was fake.

Like the usual norm where police search all arrested suspects and keep all their valuables including money, this is also what happened to this Gambian.

Shockingly, the cops changed part of the money with fakes.

He reportedly raised the matter with his captors but was ignored.

“He had $180000 in total. Scammers took $60000. He had on him a balance of $120000 upon arrest. But $60000 was replaced by cops with fakes,” said a source.

RUNS TO CID

Left with no option, he reported the matter no-nonsense Tom Magambo’s CID.

According to sources, several officers attached to the Minerals Unit were last month, 2nd January, 2024 arrested on robbery charges but later released on bond.

They include AIP Kayuja, AIP Okello, Sgt Kwesiga, Sgt Tuhamye and Sgt Naturinda.

We are told the scandal involves some senior officials and these could be scapegoats.  This is a story for another day.

WIDER PICTURE

The Police Minerals unit was formed in 2017 to implement plans, policies and strategies for effective security of minerals in the country.

It was also expected to conduct inspections, surveillance and monitoring in order to detect and prevent illegal mining in the country; sensitize communities on safe mining, environmental impact and dangers of illegal mining, among others.

Following 2018 changes by then deputy IGP Gen Paul Lokech (deceased), SSP Robert Ssenyondo replaced SP Jessica Keigomba as the unit’s overall commandant up-to-date.

SP Agnes Apolot was appointed deputy MPPU overall commander but sources say she feels unhappy in that position together with MPPU’s OC CID Phillip Atwine.

Others who call shots at MPPU headquarters in Naguru include the commandant’s PA, ASP Josephine Namazzi, OC CID Annet Kigozi, ASP Joshua Mwesigwa (Operations), SP Barnabas Banyenzaki and SP Leonard Munobe.

Since its establishment, the Unit has established zones in different districts and border points.

Central zone whose headquarters are based in Mubende district has ASP Norah Mirembe as a commandant. She is deputized by ASP Roland Musingwire.

Kigezi zonal office based in Kabale is commanded by ASP JB Banyenzaki; Ankole zonal office by Felista Mbambu; eastern zonal office based in Busia by ASP Kenneth Ampurira and Karamoja zonal office based in Moroto by ASP Robert Cheptoyet.

According to sources, despite the changes, there are still numerous complaints received by the police headquarters against the Mineral Police Protection Unit – MPPU as we shall be reporting subsequently.


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