By Benson Tumusiime
Kampala, Uganda: The Police and other security agencies have failed to produce suspects who were allegedly involved in the scandal of selling government drugs, in which journalists and a publicist for the National Drug Authority were arrested.
BCC journalists Godfrey Badebye, Kassim Mohamad, Rashid Kawesa, Shafiq Kisame (their driver), and Vivian Nakaliika of NDA, were arrested on Tuesday night. After their arrest, the police mounted a hunt for Serwanjja who had fled into hiding. On Friday, Serwanjja surrendered himself at Central Police Station Kampala, to help the police with investigations. However, what is shocking the arrested journalists and their lawyers is that the police have failed to make known, produce or avail the ‘other suspects’, who allegedly sold the government drugs to Serwanjja, his wife and the three BBC journalists.
Police on Thursday issued a statement that on Wednesday night, police and sister security agencies were tipped that there was a group of people who were buying government drugs illegally and an operation was carried and they arrested three people while buying classified drugs and another two later. But controversy arose On Friday when the police spokesperson Commissioner of Police Fred Enanga, while addressing the media about the progress of the matter, failed to reveal who had sold the drugs to the journalists. When he was tasked to parade the other culprits in the case, he had no answer. CP Enanga said that “NBS TV Journalist Mr. Solomon Sserwanjja who was wanted by police, brought himself, recorded a statement and released on police bond.”
He added that the police got information that next Media, a component of NBS TV, had a contract with BBC correspondents in Uganda to issue out a documentary on illegal sale of government drugs in government hospitals of Kirundi, Arua and Gulu. However, there are very many unanswered questions regarding the investigation, because police foiled the documentary by arresting the journalists. Enanga however noted that police encourage such documentaries that bring out people who practice corruption in government agencies. He said five suspects have been arrested and the file has already been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution for legal advice. CP Enanga also confirmed to the media that the drugs that were found at Sserwanjja’s home in Mukono, were exhibited and put in police stores at CPS Kampala.
Serwanjja Speaks Out
Sserwanja, an investigative journalist working with NBS TV, was given police bond on charges of being found in possession of government drugs. After being interrogated by the police for several hours he was later released, and is to report back to police when the bond expires. While speaking before the media shortly after his release, Serwanjja told journalists to be firm while executing their duties. “It is the role of the media to unleash all those who are doing more harm than good to the government,” Serwanjja said.