Police, Businessman ‘Acted With Impunity’ to Demolish a Gov’t Building

The Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura on Tuesday found hard time defending his men during proceedings in the land commission inquiry.

The commission led by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire had earlier been told that a businessman, Simpson Birungi, the proprietor of Birus Properties Limited had fraudulently acquired a title for Plot 60/62 along Aldina Visram road in Jinja.

According to witnesses, the land owned by the Privatization and Utility Sector Reform Unit was fraudulently sold to Birus, prompting an investigation by the Inspector General of Government.

The IGG later ordered for cancellation of the land title owned by Birus, the commission heard.

The company would later petition court that ordered that any further investigation and action by the IGG should stop.

Police Impunity

The commission was also told that at this time, police originated a letter purporting to be a court order sanctioning the eviction of tenants of the building and later its demolition.

The letter written by then commandant of the Police Land Protection Unit, Julius Twinomujuni was shown to IGP Kayihura as part of evidence against his men.

The commission’s Lead Counsel Ebert Byenkya said the building was demolished 24 hours after a notice to tenants.

“The RDC, RPC, DISO and DPC were against the tenants as they sanctioned the eviction of the occupants,”Byenkya said.

Kayihura Regrets

The police boss during today’s hearing, strained to respond to the questions about the actions of his juniors.

“It’s regrettable and all officers involved should explain,” Kayihura said.

The commission accused the police force of being used by tycoons to turn against the people they are supposed to protect.

Gen Kayihura apologized for his men's behavior
Gen Kayihura apologized for his men’s behavior

“After only 24 hours of notice to tenants, the police went on to act with impunity and demolish the building. What necessitated demolition to happen at 3am?”Byenkya wondered.

In response, Gen.Kayihura said it is illegal for any evictions and demolitions to take place at night.

“It was absolutely wrong to do so,” he apologized.

According to evidence shown to Gen. Kayihura, it was the then director of police operations, late Andrew Felix Kaweesi who wrote to the land protection unit giving them a go ahead for eviction and demolition.

The normal procedure of handling such matters had been bypassed by the late Kaweesi.

“It is regrettable but I don’t know why, they (police officers) were in a hurry to evict tenants and demolish the building, “the police boss noted.

The commission chairperson Lady Justice Bamugemereire also told Gen.Kayihura that in one instance, the Birus proprietor, Simpson Birungi camped at Jinja CPS giving orders to police officers on what to do as the area DPC was on ground claiming to be comforting the tenants that their property would never be demolished.

“We can’t allow this kind of impunity to continue, “Bamugemereire said.

The commission demanded immediate action against all police officers involved in the saga, not only to save government’s face but also restore public’s trust in police.

In response, Kayihura said he was ready to punish whoever was implicated in the dubious deal.

“For me the action is immediate. I would like to work with the commission to take action as I get more evidence, “h I would like to work with the commission to take action as I get more evidence, “he said.

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