By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has dropped charges against former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ASP) Siraje Bakaleke, who is currently on the run.
A document seen by this Website signed by Director of Public Prosecution Mike Chibita indicates that the DPP has withdrawn charges against Assistant Commissioner of Police, Siraje Bakaleke and seven others before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala. The other suspects are City 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. The State Prosecutor, Harriet Ongom presented the DPP’s letter before the Anti-Corruption Grade one Magistrate, Moses Nabende withdrawing the charges. The letter however, doesn’t indicate why the DPP has lost interest in the matter. Bakaleke and his co-accused have been battling 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.
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. It was alleged that between February 4th and 11th, 2018 in Kampala, the suspects wrongly arrested and defrauded Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu, both South Korean nationals, of Shs 1.4billion. The South Koreans had traveled to Uganda to buy 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 Director of Public Prosecution. In 2018, Police declared Bakaleke a deserter when he went into hiding because of the charges. Last month, Police declared Bakaleke wanted. The police went ahead to publish Bakaleke’s photos in all newspapers and called upon the Interpol to help arrest Bakaleke anywhere they see him in the world. However, it is not yet clear why the police have since decided to lose interest in Bakaleke’s case.