Police suspend officers over Mbale land cases

Illegal demolition of some buildings is said to be supervised by police. Photo by David Oduut

MBALE–Two police officers attached to Mbale Central Police Station have been suspended and five others dropped from the land desk for alleged mismanagement of land cases.

Suwed Manshur the Elgon region police publicist while addressing journalists yesterday afternoon identified the suspended officers as Assistant Superintendent of Police Onesmus Mwesigwa the Mbale District Criminal investigations and Intelligence Officer; and detective Charles Were, the officer in charge land desk.

Manshur said the officers have been suspended with immediate effect pending investigations by Professional Standard Unit (PSU). Manshur said Mwesigwa is accused of poor supervision of cases in his office.

He added that five junior officers from the Land desk have been dropped pending deployment to other departments in the Police Force. Information obtained by PML indicates that the officers failed to act on various land cases, including a case in which Mbale police was being accused of aiding the Mufti of Uganda Sheikh Ramadan Bubajje to re-possess about eleven hectares of land which he had lost in a legal battle at Mailo Four along Mbale-Tororo road.

The officers were also accused of involvement in illegal land evictions and unlawfully deployment of officers to guard land and property in favour of rich land grabbers.

The suspension of the officers comes a few days after the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, suspended four other senior police officers accused of mismanaging a case involving disputed property
in Jinja district.

The officers are Julius Twinomujuni from the Directorate of Human rights and Legal Affairs, Edgar Nyabongo, the Kidepo Region Police Commander, Apollo Kateeba, Rwenzori Regional Police Commander and Kumi District Police Commander, Felix Mugizi.

The four officers were suspended for their role in the dispute over a building on Plot 60/62 along Alidina Road in Jinja town that belonged to government until 2014.

Trouble for the officers started after the former occupants of the building appeared before the Justice Catherine
Bamugemereire Land Commission and accused the officers of siding with Simpson Birungi, the proprietor of Movit Limited to illegally evict them and demolish the building.

Onesmus Mwesigwa, the Mbale Central Police CIID chief is one of the suspended officers. Courtesy photo.

Gen. Kayihura appeared before the Bamugemereire Land Commission to testify on the matter following a complaint received by the Commission from the former occupants of the buildings. During the meeting, Bamugemereire asked Kayihura to act on the implicated officers, saying she would be happy to hear what action the IGP had taken within two weeks.



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