On the morning of March 17, a young man imprisoned in Bugiri, Eastern Uganda, asked a guard to help him make an important telephone call.
Hassan Byanfuna had briefly served in the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) as a combatant.
But in Bugiri, Hassan, as he is fondly known, was serving a sentence for robbery.
AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi had just been brutally murdered on the same day. Hassan decided to call Moses Kasiba, a former operative with Police Flying Squad.
Herbert Muhangi who heads the Flying Squad had earlier sent Kasiba and other operatives on a refresher course at the Police Training School at Kabalye.
But Kasiba perceived this as a move to isolate him from the elite police force tasked with combating armed criminals.
Hassan told Kasiba that he knew the real killers of Kaweesi.
“I know the people who killed Kaweesi. If you help me get out of jail, I will assist you arrest them,” Hassan told Kasiba.
But because Kasiba was at bad terms with Muhangi, he decided to call a one Minaana, a former informer of the Flying Squad.
Minaana and Kasiba decided to contact Nickson Agasirwe, the former commander of police special operations.
Agasirwe, who was completing his course at Police Senior Command and Staff College Bwebajja, quickly arranged a meeting with Minaana and Kasiba.
After listening to the duo and Hassan, Agasirwe called IGP Gen Kale Kayihura, saying he wanted an urgent meeting.
“I won’t take you to meet Kayihura because you are supposed to be attending a course,” Agasirwe told Kasiba before driving with Minaana to meet the police chief.
Minaana, a former ADF combatant, told Kayihura that he had someone who would help identify the killers.
It appears Gen Kayihura was so overwhelmed with work that he did not properly verify the information given to him.
He took Minaana to see President Museveni who was eager to see Kaweesi’s killers brought to book.
Museveni appears to have believed Minaana before directing that he should be armed and facilitated.
Museveni also authorised the temporary release of Hassan from jail to facilitate investigations into Kaweesi’s murder.
Kayihura would later ask Agasirwe to form a team of operatives to search for the killers who had escaped from Kulambiro on a motorcycle.
Some of those chose by Agasirwe included Patrick Muramira and Fred Tumuhirwe.
But most of the suspects arrested were tortured to make confessions and had nothing to do with Kaweesi’s killing.
They included the Kamwenge Mayor who was released on bond. The President ordered Hassan to be rearrested.
The second incident of fake suspects occurred in Internal Security Organisation (ISO).
Early this year, President Museveni appointed Col Frank Bagyenda Kaka who had been out of active service for about 23 years.
Kaka, a businessman with interests in tourism, was eager to make new contacts.
Some of his old friends recommended a one Lt Juuko Sserwanga, formerly with the notorious Operation Wembley commanded by Col Kayanja, to work with the new security chief.
Juuko was at one time the supervisor of ‘safe houses’ and reportedly used them for torture.
Since the disbandment of Operation Wembley, Juuko was always idle and struggling to make ends meet.
Juuko would later set the stage of a bitter confrontation between police and ISO.
Juuko and Agasirwe early this year arrested a former robbery convict identified as Paddy Sserunjogi alias Sobi. He had been imprisoned with a one Ismail Bwire at Luzira Prison.
Bwire’s crime was murdering a cadet officer identified as Joseph Bigirwa during an armed robbery in Kajjansi along Entebbe Road in 2013.
Sobi easily secured audience with Gen Kayihura, saying he knew the killers of former Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Joan Kagezi.
However, Kayihura was not convinced by Sobi’s account hence dismissing him.
But Sobi knew Juuko and because the latter was enjoying unlimited access to Kaka, the ex convict tried to sell his story of Kagezi murder to the new internal security chief.
Sobi told Juuko and Kaka that he knew the people who masterminded Kagezi’s killing in Kiwatule.
Sobi identified Ismail Bwire, the former ADF fighter who was incarcerated at Kirinya Prison in Jinja.
Sobi said Bwire was sent to Kenya where he picked Shs 200m from wealthy Somalis to facilitate Kagezi’s murder.
Kaka sent Bwire and Juuko to Kirinya Prison to talk to Bwire.
On his part, Bwire said he didn’t know who exactly pulled the trigger but recalled the person who received the large sum of money.
Bwire identified Haruna Kamanda, an elderly former ADF combatant as the man who took the money to facilitate Kagezi’s assassination.
Interestingly, Kamanda was an informer of ISO, CMI and police. He had provided information that led to Bwire’s arrest on charges of robbery and murder.
So it was time for Bwire to revenge.
Bwire said the money was meant for Charles Kataratambi (former Police Flying Squad commander) and Nickson Agasirwe (police special operations boss) who oversee Kagezi’s killing.
Security would have believed the entire story hadn’t Bwire contradicted himself in future testimonies.
In his interaction with Kaka, Bwire said he understood how ADF operates and that he was once a captain of Jamil Mukulu’s boat.
According to security files seen by ChimpReports, Bwire narrated that Mukulu would use a boat on Lake Victoria to travel from Tanzania to Uganda.
“I was Jamil Mukulu’s captain,” Bwire confessed.
Convinced that Bwire was an asset, Kaka decided to take him to State House to meet President Museveni.
Upon listening to his story, Museveni who was desperate to crush ADF cells in Eastern Uganda, told Kaka to secure Bwire’s release from jail – just like Hassan in Kaweesi’s case.
Kaka took Bwire to a safe house in Kyengera where he was guarded by ISO soldiers.
Interestingly, a former police officer Ali Kabanda who also was at the same safe house bumped into Bwire.
Kabanda had commanded the operation that saw Bwire arrested for robbery and murder.
But here was Bwire dressed in a UPDF uniform and being protected by security forces.
So Kabanda asked Juuko: “How come this boy is here? He is a killer. We caught him in many criminal cases. He is a self-confessed criminal.”
Juuko responded: “He has good information on ADF. That’s why he is here.”
Kabanda fired back: “He participated in the Kajjansi supermarket armed robbery in which a police officer was killed. We recovered three guns from their gang.”
Juuko revealed how Bwire came out of jail, saying he had provided information implicating Kataratambi and Agasirwe in Kagezi’s shooting.
Kabanda queried: “This boy is a criminal. He doesn’t even know how Kataratambi looks like…”
Juuko interjected: “Bwire is helping us get police officers involved in criminal activities including collaboration with ADF…”
But Kabanda was not convinced: “I know him better. He has been involved in many criminal acts. He was a pirate…”
At this moment, Kabanda smelt something fishy hence seeking appointment with Kaka.
“Afande Kaka, let me be open to you. This man claims to have brought money from Kenya in 2014. But I got him in 2013 and was in jail until recently. How did he travel out of the country? When Kagezi was killed on April 31, 2015, this guy was in jail,” said Kabanda.
“You verify your information. You are being taken for a ride,” he further told Kaka.
But Kaka had already taken Bwire to meet Museveni.
Kabanda told Kaka, “If you took this man to President Museveni, find a way of correcting this situation.”
At the time, Bwire had provided information that caused the arrest of hundreds of former ADF agents on grounds of participating in subversive activities.
The suspects were being arrested in a joint security operation.
But on closer scrutiny, security could not find any evidence against the suspects.
A special hearing was convened to interrogate the chief informer, Bwire.
The meeting held at Police’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) headquarters in Kireka was attended by a one Erias (JATT), Maj Gaffa (ISO), Maj Were (ISO) and Lt Juuko.
The security chiefs asked Bwire to corroborate the information he had provided ISO on the suspects’ participation in criminal activities.
The information provided by Bwire, according to a source who attended the meeting, “could not even implicate a chicken thief.”
One of the security chiefs asked Bwire: “You claim to have known and worked closely with Jamil Mukulu. Do you remember how he looks like?”
Bwire responded: “Yes, sir.”
Junior officers were asked to present hundreds of photos including some of Mukulu. Bwire was asked to identify Mukulu’s face in the pictures showed to him.
“Bwire was trembling like a leaf,” recalled a source, “He could not even identify Mukulu whom he claimed to have traveled with on Lake Victoria over a long period of time. It was a big embarrassment.”
The joint security committee wrote a report to President Museveni, saying Bwire’s confessions were nothing but lies.
The two incidents of fake suspects underscore Uganda security agencies’ inability to properly investigate high profile cases and hold perpetrators to account.
They further expose the lack of coordination among the security agencies hence vulnerability to fake intelligence.
Kabanda, who participated in many police operations, confirmed this entire development, saying; “It’s true to the best of knowledge.”