Crime & Investigation

The Truth: Why Gen Kayihura was not Charged with Kaweesi Murder

Gen Kale Kayihura (C) appearing before the Military Court Martial recently


On June 12, an armed bodyguard walked to former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura and informed him that the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi wanted to talk to him.

On checking his missed calls, Kayihura, who was in Mbarara Town to meet his private doctor over a stomachache, decided to call Muhoozi.

Kayihura told Muhoozi he had found a missed call from him.

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Kayihura also informed the CDF that his phone was with his aide who was running errands in Mbarara.

Gen Muhoozi told Kayihura the army wanted to question him hence the need for him to travel to Kampala immediately.

Gen Kayihura had earlier been informed military forces were looking for him in Lyantonde and had erected roadblocks on major roads in western Uganda.

This surprised him, according to his close associates, as he never intended to escape.

Kayihura then requested Muhoozi to allow him first visit his farm in Lyantonde along Masaka-Mbarara road after which he would connect to Kampala. Muhoozi gave Kayihura a green light.

Along the way, Muhoozi told Kayihura he should stay at his farm in Kashagama from where a chopper would be sent to airlift him to Entebbe.

Muhoozi further told Kayihura the commander of UPDF’s 2nd Division, Brig Kayanja Muhanga would be at the farm.

Brig Muhanga (L) and Gen Muhoozi

In a short while, Brig Muhanga arrived at Kayihura’s farm where they had milk tea as they waited for the UPDF chopper. Strangely, the chopper delayed for four hours.

It was within this period that Kayihura told the media that he was not under any form of arrest.

But he was suspicious of the military’s movements especially the search of Lyantonde hotels during the previous night and Muhoozi’s new instructions to report to Kampala.

The chopper dropped him at Entebbe Airbase from where Kayihura was chauffeured to Makindye Military Barracks for detention and questioning.

Defence spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire told ChimpReports recently that Muhoozi “visited Kayihura at Makindye because he was the one who informed the former police chief that he was wanted for questioning.”

Plot

An investigation by ChimpReports has discovered Kayihura had been informed of a plot by operatives of Internal Security Organisation (ISO) to frame him.

This would later be confirmed by Kayihura’s lawyers, KAA, who said “ISO from the start was involved in forgery of evidence, that’s what is disturbing Kale Kayihura.”

As soon as he was informed of the plot against him, Kayihura relayed this high-level information to the Senior Presidential Advisor in Charge of Special Operations, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

It’s understood Kayihura meet with Kainerugaba several times at Kampala Serena Hotel just a week before the former police chief was arrested.

The details of their discussions remain unclear.

Inside the investigation

What we know is that ISO was at the forefront of investigating the assassination of former Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, which occurred on March 17.

The joint committee investigating the Kayihura case comprised the Director of CIID, Grace Akullo, Elly Womanya, Regional Kampala Metropolitan Police CID boss, Olal, Charles Asiimwe (JATT) and a one Churchill, a lawyer with ISO among others.

During the investigations, some ISO operatives provided information they said would pin Kayihura in the killing of Kaweesi.

Part of this information was tendered before President Museveni, who also asked another team of intelligence experts, to substantiate it.

Hacking

Simon Peter Odongo, an ISO operative, claimed having hacked the operations of Thuraya, a UAE-based leading mobile satellite communications company, to obtain the recording of Kayihura’s conversation with former Police Flying Squad boss Herbert Muhangi.

Odongo alleged that Muhangi received a call via a satellite phone and facilitated a conference call whereby the caller, him and Kayihura could converse about the murder.

Odongo briefed the joint investigating committee that he had a window of “66 seconds” to obtain details of the entire 5-minute conversation during his hacking mission.

The ISO operative said he was only able to obtain “7 seconds” of the discussion which were pinning Kayihura and Muhangi in the murder.

Odongo’s audio claims Kayihura told Muhangi that “thank you” after the murder of Kaweesi.

Ex Flying Squad Commander Herbert Muhangi

In the “7 seconds”, Odongo said he was “lucky” to get the part that would incriminate Kayihura and Muhangi in Kaweesi’s murder.

This stunned some members of the joint committee who wondered how one would first of all have the ability to hack one of the most secure satellite phone networks in the world and also be lucky to get the part that incriminates the two senior police chiefs.

“It was a shock to most of us because we wondered whether he was a magician. Satellite phones are always secure because they don’t use masts. That’s why they are preferred by leaders of rebel movements such as Joseph Kony and terrorists. It’s hard to locate callers who use satellite phones,” said an official who attended the briefing sessions.

Unanswered questions:

The questions Odongo had to answer included the following: How come you had only one window to hack the so-called conversation?

How come the only part you got was the one incriminating Kayihura and Muhangi? Why wouldn’t you access other parts of the conversation?

And why does the phone call conversation disappear after your hacking mission?

Officials said they smelt something fishy about Odongo’s technical evidence.

Technical evidence

The Electronic Transactions Act provides guidelines on admissibility of data messages to guide judicial decisions.

These include reliability of the equipment used. One needs to demonstrate before court that one used equipment, software or hardware that is reliable to retrieve the messages.

The manner in which the basic data was initially entered has to be observed. In Odongo’s case, he had to prove that he used professional methods to access the data.

Other guidelines are: measures taken to ensure the accuracy of data as entered; method of storing the data and precautions taken to prevent loss or alteration; reliability of the computer programs used to process the data; measures taken to verify the accuracy of the program and software used to preserve digital evidence in its original form.

In short, the entire chain of obtaining, recording and storing the messages should not be corrupted in any way.

For example, if you transfer information from a computer to a hard disk, you need to show it was not compromised or manipulated along the way.

Therefore, Odongo had to explain to the joint committee the process of obtaining and storing the Muhangi-Kayihura conversation so that an independent third party could do the same and obtain similar results.

For instance, if you use a password pattern to unlock the screen of a mobile phone, an independent party should use the same to open the screen.

Odongo also had to prove his competence as the person who accessed the original data.

This person must be knowledgeable to do so and able to give evidence explaining the relevance and implication of what he did.

Qualifications

Odongo said he was a graduate of ICT with specialised training from Belford University.

Yet, the organization which claimed offering online unaccredited degrees and mailing its certificates from the United Arab Emirates was found to be fake.

Along with many similar websites, it was owned by the Karachi-based company Axact, the main business of which turned the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale.

It was discovered that that Belford High School and Belford University never existed.

Court documents from McClusley v. Belford University revealed that Belford University was run by 30-year-old Salem Kureshi from his apartment in Karachi, Pakistan.

Technical evidence

With Odongo’s credibility and skills being doubted, investigators looked more critically at his technical evidence. His chain of evidence had to be as strong as its weakest link.

Odongo’s allegation that Kayihura and Muhangi had a conversation on a satellite phone collapsed after it emerged that telephone printouts of both officers didn’t show any recorded conversation.

“Ordinarily, we should have seen the call logs on their printouts but they were non-existent,” said an investigator who preferred anonymity so as to speak freely.

Odongo had alleged that the satellite phone which was used to call Muhangi was in Kulambiro.

Yet, satellite phones don’t use masts as is the case with local handsets. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact location of the caller.

Independent technical information obtained from telecom providers showed Muhangi was not even at the scene of crime but Kireka from where he was receiving and making calls.

“There were many witnesses to prove that Muhangi was with them in Kireka on the morning Kaweesi was killed,” said the investigator.

The printout of Kayihura’s telephone conversations showed that he never received calls on his Africell number from Muhangi as alleged by Odongo.

But the ISO operatives later claimed the call data was deleted from MTN servers.

“But still, if Muhangi called Kayihura, the ex IGP’s phone printout should say so which was not the case,” said an expert briefed about the investigation.

Odongo went further to allege that Kayihura, Muhangi and Kaweesi’s wife, were part of the plot.

But the printouts betrayed Odongo as there was no evidence to prove that Ms Kaweesi received a call from Muhangi.

Serial Numbers  

A telephone call in technical terms comprises a handset, sim-card and serial number of the gadget.

Phone printouts show one’s sim-card number, call log (outgoing and incoming, duration etc) and phone’s serial number.

The printout presented by Odongo showed that Muhangi had used his phone to call Ms Kaweesi.

Yet, the call log presented by Odongo did not match with the serial number of Muhangi’s phone and simcard.

“Muhangi’s simcards had never been associated with the serial numbers provided on ISO’s printouts. In fact, the owners of the serial numbers are here in Uganda and were busy with their phones on the alleged dates of Muhangi-Ms Kaweesi conversations,” said an informed official.

“In fact, we suspected that ISO operatives used an excel sheet to create their own printout or they edited the ones obtained from telecoms. Because Muhangi did not at any one time call Ms Kaweesi.”

Time of death

According to Odongo’s technical evidence, the Muhangi-Kayihura conversation occurred at 8:20am.

Yet, Kaweesi was killed as he talked on phone with current Counter Terrorism chief, Abbas Byakagaba at 9:16am.

With the time of death found to be wrong and all evidence showing there were no calls between Muhangi and Kayihura and considering Odongo’s questionable skills; ISO could hardly sustain the ‘Kaweesi murder charge’ against the former police boss.

Witness Accounts

ISO presented several witnesses and suspects in the Kaweesi murder who included Abel Kitagenda.

It was alleged Kitagenda waved down Kaweesi’s vehicle before it was showered with a rain of bullets.

It is said Sgt Abel Tumukunde rode Muhangi on a motorcycle to Kaweesi’s murder scene.

Police Constable Kimbowa reportedly rode ‘Rasta’ who was among the shooters.

ISO claimed after killing Kaweesi, Muhangi picked all the guns and phones which he took to Nickson Agasirwe’s office in Kololo.

ISO’s reports further indicated that Kayihura’s top aide ACP Jonathan Baroza rushed to Kololo where he picked Kaweesi’s phones and returned them to the crime scene.

But the joint committee of security organs discovered the suspects and witnesses were never near the crime scene.

For example, technical evidence showed Kitagenda was receiving and making calls in Nabwero, Gayaza, more than 20 kilometres from Kulambiro at the time of Kaweesi’s murder.

Abel Kitagenda

The map showing the location of Kitagenda from Kulambiro where Kaweesi was killed

Muhangi was busy with official work in Kireka. Baroza was in Kiwatule.

It also emerged that police had stopped paying rent for the Kololo office after Agasirwe was sent on a course at the Bwebajja-based Police School.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the physical tests handed to Rasta, the so-called shooter.

“We gave him a gun and asked him to cock and fire a bullet,” recalled an investigator.

“Rasta could not even cock a gun. He just kept pulling the trigger.

He couldn’t fire a single bullet,” said the investigator, adding, “That guy has never operated a firearm.”

The so-called riders were given motorcycles and asked to ride them.

The bike nearly killed one of them because they didn’t even know what to do after ignition.

Museveni-Kaka Meeting

Officials told ChimpReports that Museveni was regularly briefed about the investigation into Kayihura’s reign.

During the presentation of intelligence reports on August 20, Museveni told ISO boss Col Kaka Bagyenda that their information “cannot be used to charge anyone in any court anywhere.”

Kaka reportedly said they would engage advanced countries in Europe to help in the investigation.

With ISO failing to pin Kayihura using technical evidence, eyewitness accounts and suspects’ testimonies, Kayihura had to be freed.

But officials say Museveni was yet to be convinced that Kayihura was not in a ploy with Rwanda to destabilize Uganda and overthrow him.

Kayihura’s associates say he was always careful in dealing with Rwanda to avoid being misunderstood.

The former IGP was this week charged with failure to protect military materials, issuing arms and ammunition to unauthorized persons and aiding and abetting kidnapping and repatriation of Rwandan refugees from Uganda.

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