Two high-ranking soldiers belonging to Military Intelligence and JATT heading Uganda Revenue Security (URA) security with their juniors officers have been linked to robbery in which $400,000 was stolen from a South Sudanese General in Maganjo on Bombo road.
The duo has been identified as Col. Emmanuel Zakye, head of URA security and Lt. Col. Oscar Munanura. The two lead army intelligence operations within the Authority.
What exactly happened?
On February 28, 2021, a team comprising URA Customs’ officer known as Robert Asiimwe Akanga and UPDF soldiers working with the tax body was dispatched to verify information related to smuggling of electronics and foreign currencies into the country from South Sudan.
The team camped at Maganjo on Bombo Road where the suspect’s vehicle was intercepted and searched for electronics and fake dollars.
The suspect was identified as John Makech Aluong, a South Sudanese army general.
A video footage obtained by this website shows Akanga talking to Makech on the left side of the vehicle, as URA driver, in connivance with the UPDF soldiers, picked a bag that contained money and took it to another car.
The officers would later tell Akanga that they hadn’t recovered any fake dollars or electronics.
He allowed Makech to proceed to Kampala.
However, Makech moved straight police at URA and reported that that his money had been stolen by the team that waylaid him in Maganjo.
Asked about the source of the money, he said he was transporting it on behalf of a relative, who works with the South Sudan Ministry of Finance, and has been doing it on a weekly basis though he didn’t register it at customs as per the Ugandan laws.
Such a transaction is defined as money laundering and it is illegal in Uganda.
In his statement, he said he would hand over the money to a forex bureau on Bombo Road for legalization.
The money is then invested in a local company called GAK Express located near Arua Park.
The company uses the money to buy assets like trailers and buildings in Uganda.
After his statement, the army intelligence team led by Col. Zakye and Lt. Col. Munanura arrested Akanga.
He was handed over to the CMI for interrogation and it later emerged that Akanga was tortured using electric shocks, burnt polythene materials they dropped on his skin, and hit his joints with batons to get a confession about the whereabouts of the money.
“Whenever, he pleaded for innocence, he was subjected to more torture to an extent they discovered that he didn’t have any clue about the theft of the money. He kept telling them that he only talked to the South Sudanese national,” a source at URA said.
Akanga was later transferred to SID headquarters at Kireka.
“The investigators turned to other leads. They arrested the URA driver and searched his home where they found a bag belonging to the South Sudanese,” a source added.
It is alleged that half of the stolen money was recovered by the intelligence officers at the home of the URA driver, but only US$16,000 was exhibited.
Investigators later discovered that the driver of the South Sudanese was a former driver at URA and he had been in constant communication with the URA driver, who drove the customs’ officer to intercept suspected fake dollars.
The former URA driver was arrested by Flying Squad operatives and US$46,000 was recovered at his hotel in Masindi District. However, the money wasn’t exhibited.
It was from the interrogation that investigators learnt that the drivers (one of the South Sudanese and that of URA) connived with the soldiers to steal the bag that contained money leaving their team leader Akanga in the dark.
The incident was captured on Phone cameras nearby person and footage has since been retrieved by the police.
It is alleged that drivers and soldiers shared the money later after theft. The soldiers have also been arrested.
This website has also established that Zakye and Munanura were aware of this robbery and had since used their powers to protect the URA driver.
Zakye and Munanura recovered the money which remains nowhere to be seen.
And the the question remains…who has this cash?
Dragged to Court
Akanga through his lawyers Byamugisha Gabriel & Co. Advocates lodged a Court application at Nakawa Chief Magistrates Court against Inspector General of Police and Commander of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence for disobeying court orders to release him.
He told Court that despite securing a Court order on March 10 to unconditionally release him he remains at SID at Kireka in poor health.
He now wants Court to arrest the Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola; the director of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence Maj Gen Abel Kandiho; the head of URA security, Col Emmanuel Zakye, Lt Col Oscar Munanura; the Director of Criminal Investigations Grace Akullo; and the Commandant of Special Investigations Division Mark Odongo, for contempt of court.
The complainant’s lawyers also want the officers detained in civil prison for a period not exceeding six months for being in contempt of court.
“That each of the respondents be found to be in contempt of court and be punished by paying damages to the tune of above Shs20m,” the lawyers’ application reads in part.
The Nakawa Magistrate heard the application on Thursday afternoon and adjourned Court to Tuesday when he will deliver his ruling at 3pm.