Breaking

Two Officers Dismissed from Police over MasaKa Self-Immolation Scandal

Walugembe burnt himself in Ssesanga's office, after failing to convince him to return his motorcycle registration number UDL 591L which had been impounded by a traffic officer Julius Ewalu for allegedly operating beyond curfew time. The Police officer allegedly suspected that the bodaboda was being used to transport passengers.
19 Jul 2020 06:40
David Manzi the chairman of the court reading the ruling at masaka city council hall

Audio 2

The police disciplinary court sitting in Masaka has sentenced two officers attached to Masaka central police station to dismissal from the Uganda Police Force.  The two were accused of abetting corruption and scandalous behaviour. 

The court, chaired by ASP David Manzi heard that on July 2, 2020, Sgt Ibrahim Ssesanga, the acting in-charge of traffic at Masaka Central Police Station, acted in a scandalous manner that resulted in the death of one Hussein Walugembe, a guard at a construction site. Walugembe burnt himself in Ssesanga's office, after failing to convince him to return his motorcycle registration number UDL 591L which had been impounded by a traffic officer Julius Ewalu for allegedly operating beyond curfew time. The Police officer allegedly suspected that the bodaboda was being used to transport passengers.   

According to information available to police, Walugembe had just bought the motorcycle which he gave to a friend to use for bodaboda business. When it was impounded, he went to police to demand that it be returned to him. But the two officers refused, instead, demanding a bribe of 40,000 Shillings from him.

Irene Amoro, one of the prosecution witnesses told the court that Walugembe approached the traffic office two times pleading to have his motorcycle released and equally threatened to end his life if he plea was not heeded to. Issac Owana, who led the prosecution told the court that Ssesanga’s behaviour sparked public outrage, an important ingredient to prove a case of scandalous behaviour which resulted in the loss of life and property. He added that through his conduct, Ssesanga had flouted a cardinal principle of the force to protect lives and property. 

In his defence, Ssesanga told the court that the evidence brought against him by the prosecution is concocted, and aimed at tarnishing his name. He asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence.

However, the presiding court chairperson ASP David Manzi agreed with the prosecution that it had proved that Ssesanga acted in a manner that left Walugembe frustrated, betrayed and abused opting to end his life.  Manzi said that by ignoring Walugembe's threats, Ssesanga acted in a manner unbecoming of a police officer.

Manzi said that as a trained police officer, Ssesanga had the power, mandate and skills to prevent the incident because he had the opportunity to talk to Walugembe and convince him that his motorcycle would be released. The failure to do this, according to the court was scandalous and unbecoming.

He was subsequently dismissed from the force despite his plea for a pardon on the account of being a first-time offender and sole breadwinner for his family.

//Cue; “The right to life...

Cue... the appellant court..."//

But the court dismissed the charge of abetting corruption against Ssesanga saying that prosecution had failed to prove that Ssesanga solicited a bribe from the deceased. Instead, the traffic officer Julius Elwalu was convicted for the same.

The court heard that Elwalu had solicited and received 100, 000 Shillings from one Noordin  Byakatonda to release his car Registration number UAK 147L that had been impounded during the curfew. He also received 40,000 Shillings from one Yasin Kalyango to release his son’s bicycle that had been impounded by the police.

The prosecution presented exhibits of money returned by Ewalu to the complainants after filing a case at Police Standards Unit office in Masaka, the basis of which the court sentenced him to dismissal from the force. Elwalu, was in February 2020, convicted for indiscipline after giving a phone to a suspect in custody.

Manzi said that Ewalu’s unprofessional conduct dents the image of the force and that he didn't seem remorseful for his actions.

//Cue; “The defaulter...

Cue...signed.”//

Sgt Ewalu had served the force for 10 years while Sgt Ssesanga had served the force for eight years.