The Police Disciplinary Standby Court has ordered for the dismissal, with disgrace of three police officers including a District Police Commander convicted of aiding the escape of a man suspected to a collaborator with rebels who recently attacked a UPDF detach in Zombo.
Suspected Democratic Republic of Congo’s Cooperation for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebel outfit attacked a Ugandan army detach in Zeu sub-county in Zombo leading to death of five people including a UPDF officer and four attackers as the army repulsed them.
However, according to Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, a high profile suspect also believed to be a collaborator with the rebels identified as Denis Ogenwen was last week arrested and detained at Arua Central Police Station.
He noted that later, during the suspect’s transfer from Arua CPS to Paidha Police Station in Zombo district, he escaped from Police.
“The escape was in the presence of ASP Twango Joshua, the acting DPC Zombo, D/CPL Ojur Sulaiman, CPL Abidrabo B.O. Albert and CPL Yalaba Gilbert,”Enanga said.
The police publicist said later, six police officers including the three who were taking the suspect together with the district CID officer, DASP Alex Paul Wanzala and the district Crime Intelligence Officer, D/IP Totia Gilbert were later arraigned before the Police standby disciplinary court and charged with neglect of duty when they allowed the high profile suspect to escape.
“It was further established that after the suspects escape, the acting DPC together with the District CID officer D/ASP Wanzala Alex Paul and the District CI officer, D/IP Totia Gilbert concealed the matter and failed to report the escape of the notorious suspect from their custody. In fact, Wanzala in his defence gave false information to his superiors, claiming the suspect had appeared in court and remanded to prison whereas it was false,” Enanga said.
He noted that the Police disciplinary court sentenced and recommended for dismissal of the acting Zombo DPC, district CID officer and Corporal Albert Abidrabo who was driving the vehicle when the suspect escaped.
“In addition, the ASP Twongo Joshua(acting DPC for Zombo) and D/ASP Wanzala (district CID officer) were also sentenced to severe reprimand on the additional charges against them.”
The court also sentenced to severe reprimand for neglect of duty the remaining officers.
“The allegations were not enough to bring a criminal prosecution, but the respective disciplinary court found the actions of the officers were a breach of the police standing orders and the code of conduct,”Enanga said.
Despite the Police disciplinary court recommending for the dismissal of the police officer, they can appeal against the same.
Section 47 of the Police Act gives powers to the Senior Superintendent of Police to dismiss a police officer of or above the rank of assistant superintendent of police from the force.
An officer at or above the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police can only be sacked by the President.
The process of sacking is that after going through the police disciplinary court, the Police Council approves the punishment before the Police Authority gives the final word.
On many occasions, recommendations for sacking of officers done by the disciplinary court are overturned by either the Police Council or Police Authority .