By Our Reporter
After a scandal-shortened career, two of General Kale Kayihura’s once high-ranking men in the police force are still on the run four years after the ouster of the former inspector general of police.
The fugitives include Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Siraje Bakaleke and the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jonathan Baroza. Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Amos Ngabirano retired, according to Police spokesman Fred Enanga.
Kayihura was sacked in March 2018. He was later arraigned before the General Court Martial on charges of aiding and abetting the kidnapping of Rwandan refugees from Uganda and failure to protect war materials. Enanga said Bakaleke and Baroza were declared deserters because they absconded from duty without authority.
“Mr Amos Ngabirano retired from the Uganda police force. Bakaleke and Baroza disappeared from duty without authority and they were declared deserters. We sent out a statement and whoever knows their whereabouts should help us because they are wanted,” Enanga said.
When a police officer absconds from duty for three weeks, Enanga said, he or she is declared a deserter and the police stop paying his or her salary. Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said on arrest, the police officers will be tried in a police tribunal and may either be punished or discharged.
“They can be allowed into the force if the tribunal decides. They can be stripped of their ranks, they can be demoted. The decision can only be made by the tribunal,” he said.
Kayihura convinced Amos Ngabirano to return from the United Kingdom (UK) in 2005. He was later deployed in the Information and Technology (IT) department. In the IT department, Ngabirano rose through the ranks to become assistant inspector general of police (AIGP). Before retiring, he was the head of the Police IT department. He was the most senior civilian in the Uganda Police Force (UPF) under the former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura.
Sources, however, suggested that at the time of his retirement, he was under scrutiny for purchasing Shs 16bn substandard IT equipment. The equipment included; closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras for government offices, hospitals, bridges, and bomb detectors for the former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga’s car.
Gen Kayihura was replaced by his deputy, Martins Okoth-Ochola in 2018. Ochola replaced Ngabirano with Felix Baryamwisaki as head of the Police IT department.
ACP Siraje Bakaleke
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Siraje Bakaleke vanished in 2019 after police launched an investigation into his alleged involvement in the extortion of Shs 1.5 billion from two South Korean nationals.
While paying tribute to the former Buyende District Police Commander (DPC) Muhammad Kirumira at Old Kampala Mosque in 2019, Bakaleke said he feared for his life and could be the next police officer to be killed. Kirumira was gunned down in August 2018 on his way home from a wedding. Days later, Bakaleke disappeared. In an interview with this paper, Bakaleke said he fled the country because he feared for his life.
Bakaleke and others are accused of kidnap, abuse of office, and conspiracy to defraud two Koreans; Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu –who were allegedly arrested from Acacia mall in Kampala.
Bakaleke denied the charges. The prosecution averred that on February 11, 2018, in Kampala, Bakaleke conspired to kidnap or abduct the South Koreans. In 2020, the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita discontinued corruption charges against a fugitive officer pending his arrest.
ACP Jonathan Baroza
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jonathan Baroza who doubled as the personal assistant to Kayihura was declared a deserter after he declined to return to Uganda when his boss was replaced. Baroza became famous as one of the blue-eyed boys of then Inspector General of Police Gen Edward Kale Kayihura.
At the time of his desertion, Baroza had been deployed in Algeria as a police attaché in September 2017. He was recalled in June 2018 as investigations into the killing of former Police spokesperson Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi took center stage.