KAMPALA– The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has criticised the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) for storming the MTN data centre and the persistent pattern of violation of the rule of law and good governance in the country.
In a statement issued by Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, the ULS president, the lawyers said security organs and intelligence bodies have been found on the wrong side of the law, citing the unlawful raid of the MTN data centre and parading of suspects.
“The Uganda Law Society has noted with concern, statements made by the Director General of ISO Col. Kaka Bagyenda confirming the unfortunate attack on the MTN data centre carried out by ISO operatives. It is very chilling to hear the Director General of ISO proudly associating himself with such illegalities in a press conference,” Kinobe said in the statement.
Justifying the raid, Col Bagyenda, said telecom companies are not immune to security checks. “It is true we did, there are things we are investigating just like anyone [can be investigated]. We are investigating,” he said in an interview.
Last week, PML Daily reported that the raid on the offices was precipitated by allegations that the company was evading tax and also to find call data on some suspects being held in connection with the murder of former police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
The lawyers further condemned illegal detention of suspects saying that “ISO seemingly operating above the law, the constitution and the courts is a deeply worrying trend that needs to be resolved quickly.”
“ULS has long opposed the practice of parading suspects because the exercise is of no legal value and erodes the presumption of innocence,” Kinobe added.
The body asserted that ISO has no legal mandate to arrest and detain any person.
At a press conference on Monday July 9, Col Bagyenda paraded some suspects who confessed to working with Dr. Kizza Besigye and Gen Kale Kayihura to cause unrest in the city.
The law society now wants government to not only denounce the attack on MTN and the illegal arrest of citizens by ISO, but to also decisively deal with the particular individuals who broke the law in the arrest of MTN employees.
“If DPP is unwilling to call the individuals in this case to book, ULS will consider commencing private prosecutions against the individuals concerned including but not limited to Col. Frank Kaka Bagyenda for abduction with intent to confine contrary to Section 244 of the Penal Code Act Cap 120.”