Ochola stops re-arrest of suspects
• Notorious Nalufenya police facility to be closed
Faced with growing criticism from the legal fraternity and human rights activists, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Martin Okoth-Ochola has issued directives to the force’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) to stop re-arresting of suspects after they have been bailed by court.
Ochola on Thursday told members of Parliament’s committee on Defence and Internal Affairs that he had directed the CID director Grace Akullo to stop the “humiliating acts of arresting suspects after they have secured bail from court.”
Ochola who led police chiefs to the committee to defend the force’s budget proposals for the 2018/19 Financial Year was confronted by questions from MPs in regard to the misconduct of the police.
This follows the April 10 re-arrest of Ismail Kalule, a suspect charged with plotting to overthrow the government.
Kalule had been released on bail pending trial at the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court.
The presiding judge Moses Mukiibi granted bail and at the same time cautioned security organs against disrespecting court orders.
Mukiibi’s orders were ignored, sparking off a disagreement between the judiciary and the police.
Before the parliamentary committee, Ochola had to offer an explanation after Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munyagwa tasked him to explain the presence of officers in the police who commit acts of lawlessness such as re-arresting suspects released on bail, in total disrespect of the judiciary.
Ochola said that he had issued orders to Akullo never to undertake such humiliating operations within court premises again.
“We are law abiding people and on that incident by the Director CID, the good thing is she is here with us; I cautioned her that I don’t want a repeat of that. I have ever been a director CID, but that never happened during my time,” Ochola said.
Kalule’s re-arrest last week is not the first time suspects released by court are arrested by security operatives from court premises.
Last November, four of the seven suspects who are facing charges connected to the murder of former police spokesman AIGP Felix Kaweesi were re-arrested from the High Court premises in Nakawa after they were granted bail.
Ochola also told MPs of the decision to close the notorious Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja district.
Formerly a police station, Nalufenya was in 2012 transformed into a dreaded police facility known for torturing suspects especially those facing terrorism charges.
Ochola said that he is waiting for the Police Director Legal Services to conclude the drafting an order on the closure of the detention facility.
“Torture is a criminal act, it isn’t institutional…The Director Legal Services is drafting for me an order to close it [Nalufenya]. So anytime from now, I am signing,” said Ochola.
Ochola also said that the relationship between the police and other security agencies had improved since they now frequently share intelligence information.