MBARARA – Police have arrested Dr. Charles Lagu, the executive director of National Animal Genetic Resource Center and Data Bank (NAGRIC & DB).
On Saturday morning, Dr Lagu told PML Daily that his home in Mbarara was besieged by security operatives because he was working to protect government ranches from the mafia.
Earlier, Dr Lagu had received death threats from unknown people.
But Fred Enanga, the police spokesman, said Dr Lagu is being investigated by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the Directorate of Criminal investigations for mismanaging Shs20 billion that was meant for construction work on government farms.
Dr. Lagu also allegedly connived with dealers of seeds for planting on the farms to swindle Shs45 million.
“We are also investigating him on the disposal of 960 heads of cattle from government farms and other corruption related charges which rotate around conspiracy or connivance with some suppliers of seeds, that is the Chloris gayana seeds, which were picked from one ranch and transferred to another ranch,” Enanga revealed.
“And in that process, they managed to pay Shs54 million… to the purported supplier even where there was zero supply.”
According to police, Charles Lagu had been summoned by Mbarara police to give a defense over these many allegations against him but he refused to report.
When cops were sent to his house, police say, he still refused to open.
So, the police have decided to deploy at his home to prevent him from escaping.
“He should come out and explain himself instead of coming out with such excuses. We are using very, very lawful means and if at all he continues disobeying the police officers who are there we shall use other lawful powers to get him out of his house and ensure that he is charged.”
On January 5, 2020, this website reported that Dr Lagu was living in fear after an anonymous letter dropped at his office threatened to end his life if he did not stop defending government land.
Dr Lagu has over the years been vehemently protecting government ranches, including Njeru in Buikwe and Ruhengyere and Nshaara in western Uganda, from grabbers.
And in December 2019, anonymous people hired by the land grabbers sent threatening phone messages and letters to Dr Lagu, warning him to back off the pieces of land if he wants to live.
One of the threatening letters was dropped at Dr Lagu’s office in Entebbe on December 31. The group threatened to put up trumped charges against Dr Lagu and have him jailed.
“The useless efforts of fighting people from government land will backfire on you. This is not your father’s land. It is not your property. We want to assure you that Police will not help you. Your days expired the day Joy Kabatsi left the ministry and her departure marked your exit too,” the anonymous letter reads in part.
“Trust me before January ends, we shall have you out of that office and the least we are getting you is a conviction. We have willing staff to testify against you. You are a selfish stupid man taking people for granted and you gave yourself all projects and want to eliminate fellow workers from office. You have employed your relatives and this must end,” the letter adds.
“We are giving you another chance to meet and we talk and we talk by January 2. If you avoid us, then write your will, whatever you have toiled for will be eaten by your thieving colleagues.”
Dr Lagu also said he had received threatening messages from telephone number 0703 710 976.
The minister for East African Affairs, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, is one of those accused of grabbing part of Njeru Stock Farm. Otafire told Parliament in November that he did not grab government land, but bought it from an individual.
The 1,099-acre farm located at Bukaya west village, in Njeru municipality, is one of the government farms managed under the National animal genetic resources centre and data bank. It hosts a demonstration farm, a breeding centre and a research centre, among other facilities. However, more than 504 acres, have been illegally acquired by individuals.
Otafire who tabled the documents said that he wants the government to leave the land that he had rightfully acquired. Among documents tabled are; copy of certificate of title, sale agreement copy, a judgement of the Buganda Lukiiko on the land dispute, copies of letters of administration among others.