3 min read
19 Apr

Suspects who were detained by the Ugandan police force in Arua district on allegations of attempting to bribe the officer in charge of the Arua district Central Police Station with shs2m to release a murder suspect want the OC investigated, citing foul play.

On Monday, April 15, 2024, SP Josephine Angucia, the West Nile regional police spokesperson, and her boss, Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson, published that the territorial police of Arua district had arrested and detained two people on Sunday, April 14, 2024, at around 4:30 pm in the evening at Arua Vurra district CPS, in Vurra Subcounty, Arua district, for bribing them with two million (2,000,000) shillings in order to kill a murder case.

They identified the suspects as Ajikia Annet, a female adult aged 28 years old, Lugbara by tribe, and a peasant, a wife to the murder suspect, Onzima Innocent, and Nyakuta Brian, a male adult aged 22 years old, Lugbara by tribe, a boda boda rider, all residents of Nyio Village, Nyio parish, Vurra sub-county in Arua District.

On December 17, 2023, Arijole Alido was murdered by his brother, Onzima Innocent, and other clan members; his house was demolished, and all his properties were burned by the same people. 

After killing him, his body was dumped inside his pit latrine, and they accused him of being rich as a result of the Illuminati. After committing these offences, all the suspects allegedly escaped to hide in the DR Congo. This case of murder was registered under Arua Vurra district CPS CRB 239/2023, and malicious damage and Arson were registered on SD reference 13th December 2023.

But when the suspects received information that the former OC CID, Detective ASP Maloba Moses, was transferred, and that a new OC CID, Detective ASP Kalinaki Japhar, was brought, they decided to come back to their homes from DR Congo. So, when the new OC CID received information about this case file and the suspects being back home from DR Congo, he mobilized personnel to go and arrest the murder suspects. 

On Friday, April 12, 2024, at around 4:00 pm, one suspect by the name of Onzima Innocent, the leader of the clan who allegedly commanded the clan members to kill the deceased, was arrested and detained at the Arua Vurra district central police station in Odumi.

The two Police Public Relations Officers reported that on Sunday, April 14, 2024, the two suspects of bribery came to the station, entered the office of the current OC CID Arua district, and handed over two million Uganda shillings (2,000,000/=) to him, such that he killed the murder case against their relative Onzima Innocent and set him free. 

This annoyed OC CID Detective ASP Kalinaki Japher, who ordered the arrest and detention of the two suspects under a claim of bribing a police officer on duty. The claim was registered under SD reference 16/14/04/2024, while the two million Ugandan shillings (2,000,000/=) were recovered and exhibited.

“This act of bribing a police officer to kill a case is corruption, and the arrest of the two should send a message to the general public that the Uganda Police Force is a professional institution that does not encourage corruption, and so those who think of inducing police officers through corrupt practices like briberies should desist from the vice, as they can be arrested and prosecuted according to the law.” Angucia stated this in her press release on Monday.

These statements by the two Police Public Relations officers raised concerns about how the whole event trailed.

Upon their release on Tuesday April 16, 2024 from Arua district Central Police Station on police bond with the help of Eddie Sserunjoji, the RPC West Nile, the two suspects said the money in question was demanded by the OC CID Kalinaki Japher himself and that the money was paid to him on Friday, April 12, 2024, not on Sunday, as was alleged by police.

Narrating what happened in tears, Ajikia Annet the wife to the suspected murderer, revealed that she received a call from Arua district central police station from a person who introduced himself as Detective ASP Kalinaki Japher, the OC CID handling the case, telling her husband (the suspected murderer) to order her to bring three million (Shs. 3,000,000) for them to release her husband, forcing them to look for Shs. 2,000,000, which they took to the officer. 

“The police officers came at about 4:00am on Friday morning to arrest my husband (Onzima Innocent). They took him there, and shortly I received a call from them through my husband saying the OC CID (Kalinaki Japher) wants shs2m to have him released. I asked my husband whether he was sure, he would be released. He told me that Kalinaki has assured him that he will be released when the money is brought,” Ajikia said.

 “At that time, my husband had Shs1.5 million he had saved in the house, and I had the Shs500,000 I was using for doing fish business. Desperate as I was, I decided to top my shs500,000 on that of my husband to make it shs2m. Shortly, the boda boda man (Nyakuta Brian), who used to transport our child to school, arrived. He asked what was happening, and I explained to him, and after that, I told him that the police want shs2m to release my husband, so let him take me to Arua district CPS. We went there on that very Friday at about 11:00 and handed over the money to Kalinaki, who promised that he would release my husband the next day, Saturday, April 13, 2024,” Ajikia explained.

She, however, said they came back home with the boda boda and later waited for the release of her husband on Saturday in vain.

The two suspects Ajikia Annet and Nyakuta Brian at Arua district headquarters.

 “On Sunday April 14, 2024, I called Nyakuta (the boda boda man) and told him my husband was not released so let him come and we go back to the CID officer to find out what happened. I prepared some food which I took along to the police. On asking Kalinaki why he didn’t release my husband, he demanded for another shs1m on top of shs2m given. I later got concerned and called my brother who told me to ask back the shs2m. At that moment, Kalinaki started getting annoyed with us. He picked some papers and started writing down our details and within a short time he ordered for our arrest,” Ajikia narrated.

Similarly, Nyakuta wondered why he was arrested and detained, arguing that he was just doing his job as a boda boda man to transport his client, who handed the money demanded to Kalinaki on Friday, thinking that her husband was going to be released the following day as promised. 

“If Ajikia did something wrong, Kalinaki would have arrested her on the spot that Friday when she gave him the money, not waiting until Sunday when she started asking back the shs2m earlier paid. I’m a disabled person, as you can see, I was arrested and detained innocently for two days, and on top of that, my name has been tarnished by the police for nothing. Now I want any lawyer to come to my rescue so that I can be able to sue these people for all the psychological torture they have caused me,” Nyakuta said.

Although the suspects have not registered a formal complaint against the OC CID Detective, ASP Kalinaki Japher, by press time, they threaten to pursue their justice through the Police Professional Standard Unit (PSU).

As of 2021, in their Fourth National Integrity Survey Report, the Inspectorate of Government ranked the general police as the worst department in extorting money from members of the public in the form of bribery, placing the image of the institution among the most frustrating efforts to fight corruption in the country. The general duties police, standing at 70% overall, was followed by the traffic police department at 67% and the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID).

By Dramadri Federick, dailywestnile.info 
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