The General Court Martial sitting in Makindye was on Monday shocked to hear that after spending less than a year in the force, Senior Superintendent of Police, Nixon Agasiirwe , 47 was tasked with issuing of guns to members of the public.
Agasiirwe, who was in 2017 arrested over kidnap related charges was on Monday testifying as a defence witness for Boda Boda 2010 patron Abdalla Kitatta, who is battling charges related to unlawful possession of guns and other army stores.
The senior police officer told court that having completed S.4 in 1990 at Nyakitoko secondary school in Bushenyi, he started political mobilisation until 2001 when he was among a group of people who went for a course at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi.
“In 2002, after returning from the course, I started working with Operation Wembley as an informant,”Agasiirwe told court.
Agasiirwe told court that he started associating with police in 2003 through Operation Wembley and later the Violent Crime Crack Unit.
These units were mandated to deal with armed thugs.
He said he officially joined the police force in 2009 but he could not clearly explain the process he went through to join the force.
Agasiirwe said he was recruited as a Special Police Constable because of his “good” work in helping arresting criminals.
“I had recovered many guns and arrested many criminals,”Agasiirwe said.
The army prosecutor, Lt.Col.Raphael Mugisha asked him why he never underwent basic training but in response, Agasiirwe said because of the expertise he had, he was allowed not to undergo the training.
“I had expertise in tracking and arresting thugs that I didn’t go through formal training before joining police,” he said.
In charge of issuing guns
The army court on Monday heard that just less than a year after joining the police force and despite not undergoing formal training, Nixon Agasiirwe was put in charge of issuing guns.
Agasiirwe said that between 2009 and 2010, he was directed by the then Inspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura to find ways of giving protection to Boda Boda 2010’s Abdullah Kitatta.
He said he assigned Sgt.Allan Matsiko to guard Kitatta. He then gave him a an AK7 and pistol to be used.
“By then, I was working as the head of operations in the Rapid Response Unit which was sitting at Kireka and in 2012 I was tasked to command the Flying Squad,”Agasiirwe told court.
According to Agasiirwe, in 2014 he was appointed as the Special Operations Unit commander and was again asked to provide another police guard together with a gun to Kitatta.
The senior police officer told court that he deployed Ngobi Sowali to guard Kitatta and that with him, he only gave a pistol and no other gun.
The statement however contradicted with an earlier one given by Ngobi who told court that he was given and AK47 and a pistol by Agasiirwe as he deployed him to guard Kitatta.
The court was also astonished to hear from Agasiirwe that he got orders from his then boss, Gen.Kayihura but the orders were in a verbal form.
The court prosecutor quizzed Agasiirwe to explain whether the loophole of the absence of written orders could not be used by anyone to order the issuance of guns to any person including those not authorised but he could not give a definite answer.
“All I did was under the authority of the IGP but it was verbal. It was not necessary to put in writing the directives from my superiors,”Agasiirwe said.
He added, “ I have armed many people as I handled many operations and I can’t remember each gun number given to the various people including the one given to Ngobi Sowali.”
The army court chairman, Lt.Gen. Andrew Gutti adjourned the case to March 25.
Boda Boda 2010 patron Abdalla Kitatta is accused together with nine others including Ngobi Sowali,Ibrahim Ssekagya, Joel Kibirige, John Ssebandeke, Fred Bwanika, Hassan Semata, Amon Twinomujuni, Hussein Mugema of offences related to unlawful possession of military hardware and unlawful possession of a gun, pistol and ammunition.
They are accused of unlawful possession of 30 and 20 rounds of ammunition for SMG rifles and pistol respectively which are government stores contrary to section 161 of the UPDF Act.
The army also accuses the group of unlawful possession of military equipment including headgear and uniforms which are a monopoly of the defence forces.