Police Contemplates Providing Legal Representation to Detained Officers

1297 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Police Spokesperson, Asan Kasingye, says that once it is proved that the officers acted within their mandate, the force will have no choice but to represent them.

The police leadership is undecided on whether or not to give legal representation to Joel Aguma, the Commandant of the Police Professional Standards Unit-PSU and Nixon Agasirwe, the former head of the Special Operations Unit-SIU.

 
The duo was arraigned last week before the Uganda People's Defense Forces-UPDF General Court martial for alleged kidnap and illegally extraditing Lt. Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame to Rwanda in 2013.

 
They were charged alongside James Magada and Benon Twebembeire, both Intelligence Officers and Faisal Katende and Abel Tumukunde, both Flying Squad operatives.  There were remanded to Makindye Military police barracks.

 
According to highly placed sources, the Police Accounts Committee sitting at Police headquarters on Wednesday morning discussed the arrest of the officers but failed to reach a conclusion on whether or not to give them legal representation. The Police Accounts Committee is the highest decision making organ of Uganda Police Force.

 
According to the Public service standing orders, a public officer facing criminal prosecution or civil action for his conduct in line of duty is entitled to legal representation by government. While the police Legal Director can't defend the officers in court, the Inspector General of Police can seek help from the Attorney General.

 
Police Spokesperson, Asan Kasingye, says that once it is proved that the officers acted within their mandate, the force will have no choice but to represent them. 
 
//Cue in: "So police..... 
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Kasingye says they intend to use a report compiled in 2014 related to Mutabaazi's case to determine whether the officers acted within their mandate or not. "I can assure you that the report is there and it will be used for or against the accused in the General Court Martial," he said.
 
 
The Public service standing orders on criminal prosecution and civil action of public offices states that; when a criminal prosecution or civil action is instituted against a public officer as a result of his or her official position, or because of an act done or omitted to be done in the course of his or her official duties, he or she will be at liberty to apply to his or her Responsible Officer for assistance in his or her defense.

The Responsible Officer, if satisfied that the act was done or omitted in good faith, or that the charge is malicious and is brought solely on account of the official position which the officer holds, and that it is in the public interest that he or she should be defended, will forward the case to the Solicitor-General and request that arrangements be made for the officer's defense. If the Solicitor-General is satisfied that it is proper and just to do so, he or she will, with the consent of the officer concerned, arrange for his or her defense. The cost of his or her defense will then be met by the Government.

 

About the author

Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.