Taban Chiriga, the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Officer in Rakai, also the chief investigator in the Pastor Steven Mugambe murder case of nine family members, has been transferred. Uganda Radio Network (URN) has learnt of Chiriga's transfer to the CID Headquarters in Naguru from fellow detectives.
Uganda Radio Network (URN) has learnt of Chiriga's transfer to the CID Headquarters in Naguru from fellow detectives.
Detectives who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity have told us that the transfer leaves completion of the Mugambe family murder investigation doubtful.
They say that Chiriga's transfer comes at a time when he was planning to arrest four more suspects on the murder file Kasensero CRB 015/13.
It's the same file on which well-known former rally driver and fish dealer Ponsiano Lwakataka is jointly charged with Asuman Muddu (18), Vincent Fagesi, a Tanzanian national, and others still at large.
Pastor Mugambe's family was attacked with machetes and axes in January 2013. The assailants killed Pastor Mugambe, his wife Noelina Nalinya and seven other visiting family members.
The other victims were Bena Nakivumbi, Jane Nakiwala, Christine Nasimbwa, Max Nakirijja, Dan Ssemwanga, Andrew Mpeirwe and Maria Nakajugo.
One of the detectives says that prior to news of this transfer, Chiriga and other detectives had been under pressure from their superiors since the arrest of Lwakataka.
A few members of Lwakataka's immediate family had complained that Chiriga was biased against Lwakataka and wanted him off the case.
The allegations were made after Lwakataka had been arrested in August 2014, produced in court and remanded.
When contacted, Chiriga confirmed the transfer but declined to reveal further details as to why he was transferred.
In December 2014, the police in Rakai, led by Francis Tumwesigye, said attempts to arrest four other suspects linked to the murder of the family had been frustrated by persistent delays for committal of the file by the Regional State Attorney.
They said they had already identified the four suspects but their efforts to arrest them have been hindered by the delayed committal of the first three suspects Lwakataka, Fegasi and Muddu to High Court.
Chiriga, said their plans to arrest more suspects had been hindered by Peterson Ssemalemba, the Regional State Attorney, who had delayed to commit the file to high court.
Mugambe and his family were murdered January 13, 2013 at Kanabulemu village in Kyebe Sub-county.
However, Pastor Mugambe's family had also expressed unhappiness at the slow pace of investigations before Chiriga's transfer.
Fred Kiryowa, the late Mugambe's brother, says the family is afraid they may never have justice for the murder of their kin. Kiryowa says the surviving family members live in fear of being attacked again.
Charles Njuba, the Kyebe Sub-county Councilor, says Chiriga's sudden transfer before the case is put to rest leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
He says that police had failed to arrest the first group of suspects until when Chiriga came adding that his transfer may interfere or even slow down investigations and prosecution of the case.
He appealed to the IGP Kale Kayihura to intervene and return Chiriga to his office so as to complete his work and maybe transferred later.
However, efforts to get in touch with the suspects' lawyer Hassan Kamba were futile since his phone could not go through.
Francis Tumwesigye, the District Police Commander, confirmed the changes saying that police transfers are made any time regardless of the cases under investigations.
He says the CIID office and its services remain very active and the new CIID officer, yet to be named, will report soon and pick up from where Chiriga left off.