By Ronald Nahabwe
The Police tribunal has withdrawn the charge of torture and unlawful use of excessive authority against former Buyende DPC Muhammad Kirumira.
Kirumira had been charged with the torture of Pius Kato and Paul Ochaya during his tenure as the officer in charge of Nansana Police station in 2014. He is alleged to have removed the two suspects from cells, undressed them, beaten them and later cut off the right-hand thumb of Pius Kato.
But prosecution led by Catherine Kusemererwa asked the disciplinary court chairman Denis Odongpiny to withdraw the charges on grounds that one of the victims died while another is untraceable.
“I called Kato’s wife and she informed me that he was dead. As for Paul Ochaya, I have failed to get his contact since it was not included in the statement”, Kusemererwa told court. Kato was shot dead by the Police Flying Squad operatives during a foiled robbery in Bweyogerere.
The prosecution also went ahead to withdraw the charge of irregular conduct where Kirumira is alleged to have conducted an interview with Milton Tumusiime, a journalist working with Red Pepper at the time in which he abused the Inspector General of Police Gen.Kale Kayihura. According to the prosecution, the charge cannot hold given that the journalist refused to be a witness against Kirumira.
“I called him but he told me that he was Kirumira’s good friend and cannot testify against him and if he is forced to testify, he would turn into a hostile witness”, Kusemereirwe said.
Kirumira who has been in detention at Nalufenya police facility for the last one week was dramatically arrested on February 2, a day he was expected to return to court. Police cut off his front and burglar proof doors to get access into his house from where he had locked himself.
He was months ago charged in the police tribunal for crimes allegedly committed in 2013 and 2014 when he was in charge of Nansana police station and Old Kampala police station.
Kirumira pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from torture, extortion, corruption, bribery, unlawful arrests and excessive use of authority.
He also faces charges of neglect of duty contrary of Section 44(1) Code 19, corruption practices contrary to Section 44(1) Code 23(a) and discreditable or irregular conduct contrary to Section 44(1) Code 12 of the Police Act.
The case of extortion and torture being preferred against Kirumira has been under investigations by the Professional Standards Unit for years. Kirumira announced on social media that he had quit the police force citing witch-hunt by the top leadership which he said is part and parcel of the criminality in the city. Kirumira went ahead to ask the president to overhaul the police from the top up to the middle if he wanted to get rid of criminality.