DPP loses interest in Bakaleke prosecution

For months, the police have been placing notices in the media for information that would lead to the arrest of their own, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Siraj Bakaleke to answer charges of fraud and kidnap before the anti-corruption court.

In a surprise twist of events, on Monday, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mike Chibita communicated to the Kololo based court that he has withdrawn the charges against Bakaleke and his co-accused.

Bakaleke who is on the run has been facing charges of embezzlement, abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretense, conspiracy to defraud, kidnapping with intention to confine and conspiracy to commit a felony.

He was appearing on the charge sheet with Lawyer Paul Wanyoto Mugoya, Samuel Nabeta Mulowooza, the managing director Eye Power Engineering Company and Police officers, Robert Munezero, Innocent Nuwagaba, Robert Ray Asiimwe, Junior Amanya, Babu Gastavas and Kenneth Zirintuusa.

State prosecutor, Harriet Ongom presented the DPP’s letter before the Anti-Corruption Grade One Magistrate, Moses Nabende withdrawing the charges.

Chibita however did not indicate why he has lost interest in the matter.

After receiving the letter, Nabende dropped the charges and advised the suspects through their lawyer Cyrus Mugabi to obtain the deposits they paid during their bail application last year.

The suspects led by Wanyoto left court excited, saying the matter had occupied most of their time.

Details of the case are that between February 4 and 11, 2018 in Kampala, the suspects wrongly arrested and defrauded Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu, both South Korean nationals and defrauded them of Shs 1.4 billion.

The South Koreans had traveled to Uganda looking for gold.

All suspects with the exception of Bakaleke and Wanyoto pleaded not guilty to the charges. While Wanyoto appeared before court he didn’t plead to the charges, Bakaleke went into hiding and is still at large. The two had previously petitioned High court seeking to block their trial on grounds that the DPP instituted charges against them in bad faith before finalizing with investigations.

However, High court Justice Lydia Mugambe and Musa Ssekaana ordered the suspects to face trial in different judgment, saying they didn’t have powers to interfere with the work of the DPP.

In 2018, Police declared Bakaleke a deserter when he went into hiding because of the charges. Last month, Police declared Bakaleke wanted.

It is unclear whether or not he will now show up following the withdrawal of the charges.