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    Journalists Give Army 48 Hours To Produce Their Men Who Tortured Their Colleagues

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    Army officers beating Akena, inset is Robert Ssempala

    Journalist under their organization Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-U) have given the army 48 hours to produce their officers who tortured their colleagues.

    While addressing the press today at hotel Triangle in Kampala, Robert Ssempala the national coordinator HRNJ-U warned that they have given the army a 48-hour ultimatum to arrest, parade and prosecute their men who tortured journalists.

    “They should also give us their names and numbers so that we can monitor them during prosecution. All along they have been telling us that they are going to prosecute the culprits who torture our colleagues, but nothing is done after, this time we want to monitor the whole process to the end ourselves,” Ssempala said.

    He added that if the 48-hours elapse without any response from security forces, he is going to mobilise all journalists from all media houses around the country to stop covering all police and army activities in protest.

    “We have to protect our lives and our profession now. We want to see the culprits arrested and prosecuted,” Ssempala added.

    Ssempala added that they also want the security forces to pay the medical bills of all affected journalist. He wondered why media owners are silent when their staff are being tortured.

    “Where are the media owners when their staff/journalists are being tortured? We want them to come out and declare themselves on this by adding their voice and reproving such acts.”

    Yesterday, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire released a statement saying that the army was going to arrest and punish the soldiers who molested journalists.

    “UPDF wishes to express its displeasure over such behaviour by those individuals, and as a result, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) has ordered for their arrest and punishment,” Karemire’s letter read in part.

    Ssempala says this is the same song they have been singing without visible actions every time journalists are tortured, that is why as HRNJ-U, they want to monitor the whole process from arrest to prosecution and detention.

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    CRIME

    Prisoner Escape Scare Forces Dr. Byabashaija To Deploy PSSU Commandos At Jinja Prison…

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    The inmates who tried to escape from Jinja Court. On the right is prisons boss Dr. Johnson Byabashaija

    Uganda Prisons Services under the Command of Prisons Commissioner General Dr. Johnson Byabashaija has deployed Prisons deadly Prison’s Special Service Unit (PSSU) to take charge of inmates at Jinja government prison.

    The deadly PSSU soldiers are currently in charge of the prison’s tower where sharp shooters are stationed 24 hours to supervise the entire movements of inmates and are allowed to shoot and kill any inmates who try to escape from prison.

    PSSU Commandos are also responsible for escorting prisoners from both Jinja Main prison where deadly criminals like terrorists, murderers, armed robberies are detained from and those of Jinja Remmand where inmates with minor offences are detained from.

    Highly placed sources in prison service told theGrapevine that PSSU are highly trained commandos compared to SFC Commandos who protect President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his family members and other State privileged installations.

    He added that the PSSU Commandos are the ones in control of Luzira Upper prison security, especially the tower and that of Murchison bay.

    The development to deploy PSSU at Jinja prisons comes months after inmates tried to escape from a prison officer who escorted them to Jinja court.

    Abel Muwanika Abel alias Abusale (27) was shot several times while escaping, he was rushed to hospital where he died from.

    Ashiraf Senora alias Vampire (25) who was with him when trying to escape survived with bullet injuries and was slapped with other criminal charges related to escaping from prison.

    Both were facing charges of aggravated robbery and prisons spokesperson Afande Frank Baine praised the prison’s officers for preventing the escape.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    More Suspects Arrested Over Equity Bank Multi Million Fraud…

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    Godfrey Mukwaya (R) and Robert Mugumya (L)

    Two men have been arrested and detained over alleged fraud in regard to loss of billions of shillings in unsecured loans from Equity bank.

    Police detectives on Thursday evening arrested Godfrey Mukwaya and Robert Mugumya former employees of Airtel Uganda and detained them at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS).

    The duo, according to Police detectives, are facing fraud related charges of causing financial loss to the bank.

    Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango confirmed the arrest explaining that they were detained at CPS as the investigation continues.

    He added that the suspects have been slapped with charges of causing financial loss to the bank.

    “I can confirm that the two men are in our custody but I will not give you details because I do not want to jeopardize the investigations” he said in an interview with this website.

    Police detectives revealed that Mukwaya, a former sales manager at Airtel Uganda used different people to open up bank accounts through which the bank was defrauded of more than Shs10bn.

    According to the detectives, Mugumya is linked to 179 fictitious companies that were created to defraud Equity bank using different persons to obtain more than Shs35bn.

    Information available on YouTube channels indicate that Mugumya is the proprietor of Stab group of companies which comprises of mobile money outlets, mobile banking, hotels and a hospital.

    The arrest of Mugumya and Mukwaya brings the number of people arrested over fraud in connection with acquisition of unsecured loans by unqualified persons to seven.

    Last month (March 20, 2024) a group of five people including employees of Equity Bank in Uganda were remanded over accusations of money laundering in regard to disbursement of Shs62bn of unsecured loans to unqualified persons.

    The group was arraigned before the Anticorruption Magistrates Court on charges of obtaining credit by false pretense, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

    Those on remand include: the head of Agency Banking at Equity Bank,  Julius Musiime; Erina Nabisubi, a relationship manager for telecom; Fred Semwogerere (Banker), Tumuhimbise Crescent Tibarwesereka (relationship officer) and Wycliff Asiimwe a distribution and marketing consultant with a microfinance facility.

    Prosecution alleges that between the year 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank in Kampala City, Nabisubi, being a personally employed as a relationship manager in charge of Telecom incurred a debt of Shs6.55 billion from Equity bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Najjemba Gladys who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirements for accessing the loans whereas not.

    State contends that Nabisubi incurred a debt of Shs300m from Equity Bank falsely representing that the loans were being applied for by Nagawa Latiffa who she fronted as having fulfilled the bank requirement for accessing the loans whereas not.

    It is alleged that between 2021 and 2024 at Equity Bank headquarters situated at Church House in Kampala, Nabisubi intentionally impeded the establishment of the true ownership of Shs6.5bn which she fraudulently obtained from Equity Bank as loan through account number 1032100370335 in the name of Najjemba Gladys purporting that the said funds were applied for by Najjemba Gladys as a loan whereas not knowing that the said funds were a proceed of crime.

    State further alleges that Mr. Musiime intentionally concealed the true ownership of Shs18m which he received as gratification from Mutuuza Stella for having fraudulently processed a loan of Shs700 million from Equity Bank by requiring her to deposit the said gratification on the account number 1013101211316 in the name of Gilbert Rwaiheru Kiiza knowing that the said deposits were a proceed of crime.

    According to the charge sheet, in the year 2021 and 2024 at different places in Kampala and Wakiso districts,  Mr. Musiime, Nabisubi, Ssemwogerere, Tumuhimbise and Asiimwe conspired together to defraud Equity Bank of Shs62 billion by fraudulently causing the disbursement of unsecured loans to unqualified people.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Top Menzie Uganda Bosses Under Probe Over Allegations Of Sexually Harassing Female Staff, Human Trafficking…

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    Some of the Menzies aviation staff, Inset is Joseph Abilla the Human Resource Manager

    Entebbe Handling Services Limited trading as Menzies Aviation top company management has kicked off investigations into allegations that some of their senior male staff are involved in sexually harassing young girls and women working under their supervision and human trafficking.

    An internal memo GM/11/03/24 dated 11th March 2024, seen by the might Grapevine to all staff, copied to General Manager Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) and other concerned authorities at Entebbe International Airport confirmed that there are ongoing investigations to put in line the accused sex predators.

    “Following the receipt of serious allegations and communications, we wish to appeal to all employees, our partners and the concerned parties for understanding as the Company takes all the necessary steps to conduct neutral investigations as required by the law. We shall take every opportunity to update you on our progress regularly,” a statement reads in parts.

    It further revealed that the Company has suspended two employees mentioned in the whistleblower’s statements to pave way for investigations.

    The statement encouraged any employee with credible evidence which will help provide the investigation team to send it through compliance@menziesaviation.com.

    “We remain committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and to provide a harmonious working environment free from harassment or intimidation for all of our employees. Let’s all work together to maintain a positive and productive work environment,” the statement further reads.

    theGrapevine has exclusively seen several complaints from female whistleblowers narrating how they made several attempts to reach out to Menzies Group top managers using its Speak Up portal to report the accused persons who were sexually exploiting young girls and women.

    The victims who are also staff of Menzies Uganda explained that their managers’ silence forced them to take their complaints to the Aviation community of Entebbe International Airport in an effort to end the rampant sexual harassment going on in their company.

    theGrapevine established that the Acting Station Manager, Peter Ochieng is one of the Company bosses suspended after a number of victims accused him that in different locations, he has been sexually harassing them.

    One whistleblower claims that Ochieng sexually harassed girls and women working under the passenger services department.

    They further accuse Ochieng of using the company’s unregulated contract workers’ policy to abuse staff by promising them permanent contracts and threatening them with imprisonment if they expose him hiding under the false premise of being a Chief of military intelligence (CMI) officer .

    theGrapevine established that Staff of the said company have been kept out of contract for more than two years which is illegal as per Uganda’s employment act.

    Some Whistleblowers added in their statements that their contracts were terminated when they refused to sleep with Ochieng.

    When one male staff tried to challenge Ochieng on sexually harassing young girls and women, his contract was terminated and he was replaced with another person.

    They added that only staff who covered him and praised him are the ones who he promptly gave permanent contracts in just three months after joining the company yet many staff spend two years after joining to be confirmed as permanent staff.

    The Whistleblowers also claim that there are top managers who are involved in human trafficking and they mostly traffic illegal immigrants out of the country.

    They promised to provide evidence on how a huge number of Ugandan girls are trafficked to Middle East countries in connivance with foreign Airline companies.

    The Whistleblowers claim that they reported Ochieng to the company’s Human Resource Manager but nothing was done.

    They added that Joseph Abilla the Human Resource Manager suppresses their complaints and even boasts to the complainants that as long as he is still the head of Menzies Human Resource manager Africa division, all complaints will be sent back to him regardless of how far they were sent.

    theGrapevine has exclusively established that Abilla is also under investigations over allegations of covering his senior assistant who has been involved in multiple cases of sexual misconduct.

    “He sleeps with the women and promises them jobs though in the end nothing materializes. The General Manager is never at the station to receive our complaints and any efforts to get in touch with him are blocked by the Human Resources Manager who insists that he is his representative,” one of the whistleblower’s statement reads in parts.

    theGrapevine made several attempts to talk to Ochieng and Abilla to comment on the allegations but all their known phone numbers were off and sources at the Entebbe International Airport said that they are out of the country.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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