KAMPALA: Detectives at the Crime Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) headquarters in Kibuli, Kampala, on Wednesday grilled four editors of online news sites in connection with publishing leaked bank details of the former executive director of supervision at Bank of Uganda, Ms Justine Bagyenda.
Ms Bagyenda last month dragged 12 online media publications to the CIID, accusing them of defamation in connection with publication of her bank details and pictures of her property.
This website understands that the editors, who appeared in the company of their lawyer, Mr Nicholas Opiyo, are Mr Raymond Wamala, the director of Spy Reports, Mr Andrew Irumba of Spy Uganda News, Mr Tadeo Ssenynonyi of Business Focus and Mr John Njoroge of CEO Magazine. However, eight others did not turn up.
CIID spokesperson Vicent Ssekate confirmed that the editors recorded statements and were later released on bond.
Sources add that CIID detectives charged the editors with libel, disturbing the peace of Ms Bagyenda and computer misuse.
When contacted, the editors’ lawyer, Mr Opiyo, accused police of attempting to muzzle the press.
“In a serious criminal justice system, a public official suspected of illicit wealth accumulation – who hasn’t denied the same but only claims invasion of privacy – would be under police investigation-not courageous online journalists who have exposed these claims,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 8 others, who did not appear before CID, had through their lawyers of Galisonga & Co. Advocates written to CID, protesting the manner in which they are being treated.
The editors in question are Mr Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online), Mr Darius Mugisha (Matooke Republic), Mr Giles Muhame (ChimpReports) and Mr Deo Senono (Business Focus).
The lawyers claimed the CID did not formally serve them with summons to appear and thus they could not just turn up on their own.
The online media houses published details of Ms Bagyenda’s bank and mobile money transfer details, prompting the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), the Inspectorate of Government and Uganda Revenue Authority to investigate her source of wealth.
It was reported that she had Shs19billion on three different accounts, which sparked a public debate on how she accumulated such amount of money within six years.
Barclays Bank Uganda and Diamond Trust Bank later apologized to her for exposing her accounts details in the media.
Leaked Mobile Money transactions from her MTN account showed Ms Bagyenda had transacted a whopping Shs499,428,906 million in three years.
MTN also apologised to Ms Bagyenda for the inconveniences, and assured the public that “all confidential customer information is handled and protected with the highest duty of care and integrity.
The online news outlets also reported that Ms Bagyenda also owns 20 properties in various parts of the country also worth billions of shillings. The properties include the Land comprised in LRV 2897 Folio 11 Plot N0. 21 at Museveni Road in Ntungamo district, LRV 2897 Folio 12 Plot 19 land at Museveni Road in Ntungamo district, LRV KCCA 86 Folio 22, Plot No. 1-7:53 land at Bugolobi Nakawa, LRV 3553 Folio 23 Plot No.43 Land at Peninsular Road, Kampala Central Division, LRV KCCA 89 and Folio 24 Plot No.50 Land at Kampala Central Division.