By Benson Tumusiime
Kampala: One of the key suspects in the highly publicized bullion Van robbery which occurred on March 6, 2019 in Kyambogo has said that the robbery was planned in two weeks’ time. This information was revealed by Alfred Wabuyi, 53, a resident of Kireka, while at the Internal Security Organization (ISO) offices in Nakasero, on Monday.
Wabuyi revealed that he and his accomplices held at least two meetings around in Kampala before executing the mission. A former car dealer at Luwum Street, Wabuyi, said he had since ventured into trading in repairing and selling weighing scales. His confession made astonishing revelations about the robbery. He said that three days before the mission, his friend asked him to find them in town for an ‘urgent meeting’. Upon reaching the appointed venue, a friend of his, whom he only identified as Badru, asked him to help him do a simple assignment. “I received his call while at my workplace in Mutungo and when I met him in town, I found him with three other men. When I asked him the details of the assignment, he [Badru] told me that it involved driving to Mukono to pick some stuff. Since he was my friend, I didn’t hesitate to help him,” he said. He added that “The following day, we held a second meeting at a place from where we were to leave for Mukono.” Wabuyi only identified the people he was with as Bright, Eddy, Badru and another man whose name he could not readily remember.
How Mission Was Planned
Wabuyi said from that meeting, it was agreed that he and Badru would drive a Mark II while Bright, Eddy and two others, whose details he said he could not recall, would drive a Toyota Premio to Mukono. At that time, he was told that they were going for a very big deal in Mukono. He said the deal involved trailing a bullion van from Mukono to Kampala. Apparently, one of his colleagues, Eddy, was a brother of the bullion van driver, whom he later identified as Micheal Oketch. According to Wabuyi’s narrative, Oketch had briefed his brother, Eddy, about the deal. Eddy later briefed Bright, Badru and the other colleagues. He would later learn that Bright was a former soldier under the Special Force Command (SFC). According to the plan, the Mark II manned by Bright, Eddy and some other guys was supposed to carry the money after the robbery. They set off from Kampala to Mukono and stationed around Stanbic BankMukono Branch, waiting for the bullion van to return from Kayunga, where it had gone to collect money from. Wabuyi said when the van arrived from Kayunga and parked at Stanbic Bank Mukono Branch, the driver picked the drinks and bread which had been laced with sedatives from them. The snacks, Wabuyi said, were supposed to be given to the guards manning the bullion van. It was at that time that they started trailing the van. “We occasionally overtook the bullion van because it made several stopovers. When it stopped at Namanve Industrial Area, the driver stopped and called Eddy, who was in the Toyota Premio with the other men since it had also parked in Namanve, to bring him the polythene bags we had bought before we left for Mukono. He trusted Eddy so much because they are brothers. He feared other guys to run away with the money. All that happened while we parked at a distance in our car. Unfortunately, the polythene bags ran out of space and we were told to look for other polythene bags around Namanve. They told us that we would find them on the way,” Wabuyi recounted. Throughout the journey, they maintained communication on phone. The next plan was how to break the seals that contained the other money and by the time they approached Kireka, darkness had started setting in. “Since there was a lot of jam, we chose to drive through Kyambogo University so that we could connect through the other gate so and later join them since they had told us that they could branch off from Jinja Road and head towards Kyambogo side. But shortly after exiting, we met a scuffle-like scene where two police officers stood by the roadside wielding guns. The bullion van and a Toyota Premio were also parked by the side. We drove off and I got out from around Nakawa while Badru remained with the car. I headed to my place in Mutungo,” Wabuyi recollected. However, the following day, Wabuyi says men dressed in plain clothes went to his workstation, asked him a few details before handcuffing and taking him to ISO offices. For the last one month, he has been detained at ISO but he says his family is aware.
How Security Foiled Robbery
An ISO official, who was privy to the operation that foiled the Robbery, but preferred anonymity, told journalists at ISO offices that they learnt of the deal from the very time it was being hatched. The officer said the late Bright Turyatunga, who was one of the architects of the deal, had confided in an officer in another security agency to join them but he rejected the risky deal. “It is this officer that intimated to us and we started tracking them right from the first meeting. We kept monitoring their movements until we foiled the deal,” he said. The officer said the bullion driver and the other people involved in the mission are still on the run while two suspects are in custody. He dismissed Wabuyi’s claim that he wasn’t at the scene. However, he suspected the entire deal was planned with the help of bank officials, because banks are supposed to have a tracking system to monitor movement of the bullion van. After the arrest of the suspects last month, ISO revealed that the money in the van was Shs2.4Bn, but noted that Shs617m had been stolen by the thugs.