Locals in Kayabwe, Mpigi district have accused Achilles Atwebembere, the Officer in charge of Kayabwe Police Station of corruption.
According to complaints from the area, when the Coronavirus lockdown was announced, this presented a chance for the police chief to mint money for himself.
“When I opened my business after the president allowed us to resume work, I was asked for shs100,000 to let me operate,”Lilian Nakitto, an operator of restaurant business said.
However, according to Nakitto, she was later ordered by the Officer in Charge of the Police Station to close her business and on refusal, she was arrested and detained.
“One day, six police officers came and on arrest, I told them I paid the OC some money to allow me operate. On reaching police, I was beaten before being detained for a night and later transferred to Mpigi,” she adds.
Nakitto says many people in the area have been arrested and subsequently sent to Kitalya prison for refusing to give in to the bribe demands from Atwebembere.
According to the Kayabwe LC one chairman, Abdul Munyami, he has received numerous complaints from his residents against the Officer in Charge of Kayabwe Police Station.
“I have on numerous occasions received complaints from my residents for being arrested and detained by the OC. They say that they are always arrested over petty offences and have to pay between shs50,000 and 100, 000 so as to be released on bond,”Munyami said.
According to Munyami, when the head of the Community Policing department in the police force, ACP Anatoli Muleterwa visited the area last week in an effort to mobilise local leaders to fight domestic violence, the Kayabwe LC one leaders in which the police station sits were not invited for the meeting.
“For fear of reporting to his boss, he refused to invite us despite being the LC one in which the police station sits. He instead invited leaders from neighboring villages,”Munyami said.
The area LC 2 chairman, Isaaya Kimbugwe also confirmed the allegations saying many complaints have been made but noted that the issue has never been solved.
“We think he has godfathers at the police headquarters. We have complained several times to previous and current RPCs and DPCs but all in vain,”Kimbugwe said.
Speaking about the recent, meeting about fighting domestic violence, the LC2 chairman said he was astonished that no leader from the area where the police station sits was invited.
“We were told that he had got orders for only two leaders per parish to attend the meeting,”Kimbugwe said.
Atwebembere denies wrongdoing
When contacted over the matter, Atwebemebere admitted that such complaints have been labeled against him for a long time but no evidence has ever been produced to pin him.
“These complaints started long ago and they sent teams to investigate and I believe they got the truth. None of those people has evidence,” Atwebembere said.
Explaining himself, the Officer in Charge of Kayabwe police station said such complaints will always arise during police’s work.
“What I know think anyone can come to say they gave me money.”
Without mentioning the name, we asked the police officer to comment about a lady who claims she had been asked to pay shs100,000 before allowing her reopen her restaurant despite the presidential directive .
In response, Atwebembere said she made complaints and are being investigated.
“I think that lady takes marijuana. Why would I arrest someone who has given me money? I even told people to investigate her very well. She has done that thing to many people and not only me,”Atwebembere said.
“I can’t be compromised by anyone.”
When asked about the meeting by the head of the Community Policing department in the police force, ACP Anatoli Muleterwa on domestic violence in which local leaders accuse him of not inviting them, the Kayabwe OC said it was scheduled for few people.
“There is a lot of politics and fight for power in this area. In this Coronavirus you cannot invite many people. I was given a limit of 10 LC chairpersons. We chose LCs from sub-counties. We would give LCs that take different police posts and stations. E would give each police post and station two LCs,” he said.
“It was upon the OC to choose who should attend the meeting.