How Uganda police officers ‘stole’ $400,000 from Koreans

How Uganda police officers 'stole' $400,000 from Koreans
RPC Siraj Bakaleke is among those implicated in the alleged robbery

Senior officers from the Kampala Metropolitan South regional police command have been implicated for extorting more than Shs 1.4 billion ($400,000) from two South Korean nationals.

More than five officers including the Regional Police Commander Siraj Bakaleke have been implicated in a scheme that led to gunpoint extortion from the two foreigners who were in the country to purchase gold.

According to a source that preferred anonymity, intelligence personnel at the Katwe based Kampala South regional police command received information that two South Koreans were looking for gold amounting to about $1.5 million.

The South Koreans identified as Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu Un were to meet some gold dealers at Acacia Mall where their lawyer only identified as Wanyoto had set up the meeting.

In a statement recorded at the Flying Squad headquarters, one of the South Koreans revealed that when they reached Acacia Mall, instead of meeting the said dealers, they were surrounded by security operatives, put on gunpoint and asked to hand over the money they had.

A sum of Shs 1.4 billion was handed over to the police officers before the two South Koreans were arrested and detained at Katwe Police Station. After detention for two days, police officers bought two air tickets for Emirates and planned to repatriate the two foreigners to South Korea using some of the extorted money.

On the day the two were supposed to fly back to South Korea however, the plane left them behind as they were being transported from Katwe police station to Entebbe Airport.

It was a moment of confusion as the police officers now quickly bought other tickets with Rwanda Air but before the two foreigners could board the plane, Flying Squad operatives surrounded the place, arresting three police officers who had escorted the suspects.

The police officers now detained at Nalufenya police facility include; Isaac Munezero, the officer in charge crime intelligence Katwe police station, George Kayongo, Kenneth Zirintuusa and Patrick Ochen.

Vincent Ssekate the police Professional Standards Unit spokesperson confirmed the arrests.

“Yes they are in our custody and others have recorded statements,” he said.

Bakaleke who is alleged to have been a key player in the extortion recorded a statement on Tuesday evening at the Professional Standards Unit in Naguru. Other senior officers at the region have also recorded statements at Kampala metropolitan police headquarters.

The latest development comes at the time when other officers in the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) are also said to have had a hand in the alleged murder of two European nationals recently found dead in their hotel rooms.