By Candia Stephen
Arua-Senior and Junior police officers in Arua district are in trouble while others are under investigation over their unprofessional conduct.
This comes after numerous complaints were registered against them at the Regional Professional Standards Unit (PSU) by community members.
According to information from the PSU-West Nile, cases of misconduct by police officers have taken a new trend despite punitive measures against the implicated officers.
In the latest incident the driver of the Regional Police Commander (RPC )West Nile, has been accused of extorting money from residents of Ayaa village Vurra County in Arua district.
A complaint letter written to the PSU West Nile by Charles Acidri pins the police officer of transporting police officers to the home of Acidri and picking Shs 1.5 million allegedly in compensation for defiling his daughter.
According to the complainant, who hails from the same village with the officer, the police officer claimed he defiled his daughter and without registering the case formally, he together with other police officers he transported from Arua on January 1st 2018, invaded the village, took away one motorcycle and Shs 1.5 million.
He added that the officer has also demanded for four herds of cattle, a situation, which has prompted them to report the matter to the PSU for further investigations.
The officials involved in the alleged racket and the CID department, have been thrown into panic as they held several meetings in RPCs office before they could be summoned to appear before PSU.
PSU was formed to redeem the already tainted police image, win back the mistrust and weed out corrupt and unprofessional policemen. But despite the formation of the Unit, several cases of unprofessional misconduct of policemen have continued.
In another incident, the OC Odramacaku police post has been forced to buy a new motorcycle for one identified as Innocent, whose motorcycle was found to have been sold and money shared while in police custody.
According to the head of PSU West Nile, Evans Vuata, the motorcycle was impounded by the police but when he went to claim for it after two weeks; he found it was sold by the officer.
The matter was reported to the PSU which found the officer guilty and accordingly ordered him to buy a new motorcycle, which was officially handed over on 10th January 2018 at Arua CPS.
Cases of misconduct
Eight years ago, the OC Station at Arua Central police station was arrested after he sold the exhibits of a suspect. He was then transferred after serving a suspension from the police force.
Also in 2012, the Oc police post for Panyimur was arrested over alleged theft of vehicle spare parts. The vehicle was impounded after it was involved in an accident.
In another incident, Policeman Onen, an investigating officer attached to Pajulu police post was cautioned by PSU after he detained a resident of Komite village for alleged fornication with a married woman and demanding for Shs 500,000.
On getting a tip from the family members of the suspect, the head of PSU Vuata Evans made a surprise visit to the post only to find the suspect alone for over two days in the cells.
“When we got the complaint, I immediately reached there and on asking why the man had been detained, the officers started panicking. I immediately ordered Cpl Onen to release the suspect and never ever make any demand for money,” Vuata said.
But in a bigger incident the former RPC West Nile Jonathan Musinguzi and the former OC Arua CPS Jude Nasucha have refunded over Shs 3 million to government after embezzling the funds.
The funds accrue from the sale of impounded and unclaimed motorcycles by the police of Arua last year in November. Last year 67 cases of unprofessional misconduct were registered with 58 of them handled.
According to Evans Vuata the head of PSU West Nile, the officers colluded with a court bailiff, secured court order to auction the motorcycles and shared the money instead of depositing it in to the government account.
“When we got the information, I summoned the RPC together with the OC who failed to account for the whereabouts of the money and I immediately wrote a report to the IGP, who ordered the officers to refund the money, which they have done.
Following the incident, Jonathan Musinguzi has been removed from the office, replaced with Peter Muwonge to act and where he has been transferred is still unknown.