DPP directed to investigate Abiriga, Kagezi murders within six months

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Uganda Police Force (UPF) officials appearing before the Parliament committee on Human Rights.

The Committee on Human Rights has instructed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) to conduct a prosecution-led investigation into the high-profile murders that took place in the country.

Officials from the Office of the DPP led by John Baptist Asiimwe, the Director of Management Support Services appeared on Thursday, 28 July 2022 before the committee chaired by Hon. Fox Odoi.

They were responding to recommendations filed in the Uganda Human Rights Report for 2018-2020.

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Responding to the recommendation from the report that the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (ODPP) should institute criminal proceedings against police officers suspected to have shot dead Yasin Kawuma in Arua in 2018, Asiimwe said that some of the files have never been re-submitted for consideration after it were sent back for investigations.

“The file was received by our office in Arua on 26 October 2018, perused and was sent back for police to conduct further investigations in November 2018. The file has not been re-submitted,” Asiimwe said.

On the murder of Samuel Ssekiziyivu, Asiimwe said that some of the suspects are on the run while for Ramathan Walyendo the file was re-submitted and not returned.

Members of the committee were not happy to hear that there was no progress in prosecuting the suspects.

Terego District Woman MP, Hon. Rose Obiga said that it is sad that Yasin Kawuma, Robert Kyagulanyi’s driver was murdered and the case has not progressed.

“He left Kampala to go and die in Arua; others have remained traumatized and the people of Arua curse whoever touched these files and is doing nothing. I want to understand what has happened; do you still have the interest to follow this case?” Obiga said.

Fox Odoi instructed the team to ensure that there is a prosecutor-led investigation on all high-profile murders in the country including that of former Arua MP Ibrahim Abiriga and Saidi Kongo, Yasin Kawuma, prosecutor Joan Kagezi, Sheikhs Muhammad Abubakar Kiwewa, Ibrahim Kirya, Mustafa Bahiga and Ramathan Walyendo.

“You need to take over the investigations of these cases; we want you to form a team led by the DPP and investigate these cases and report back to us within six months,” Odoi said.

Odoi said that the constitution empowers the DPP to be the leader of all investigations in the country.

The meeting with the DPP had proceeded a meeting with the Uganda Police Force. 

The Deputy Director Legal and Human Rights at Uganda Police, Christine Nanding gave the committee a status report of the high-profile cases but was quick to say that in some of the cases, they either didn’t have leads and had to go back or cases were quashed in court.

Concerning the murder of former MP Ibrahim Abiriga and that of prosecutor Joan Kagezi, Nanding said that there are no suspects. She added however, that the cases are still open for investigation until they report on whether they have failed.

“We have not closed these cases, we are looking out for any leads. The leads that we had initially did not materialize,” she said.

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