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Senior police officers arrested over extortion

Senior officers in the Kampala Metropolitan South regional command have been implicated for allegedly extorting more than Shs1.4 billion (USD 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 region received information that two South Koreans were looking for gold amounting to USD 1.5Million.

The South Koreans identified as Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu Un were to meet some gold dealers at Acacia Mall in Kampala 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 Shs1.4 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 with Emirates Air 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 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. Mr 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.

When contacted on Wednesday, Mr Bakaleke said the charges are trumped. “I have not received any summons over any case. Anyone can be called at PSU to explain what’s happening in their area of jurisdiction,” he said.

Other senior officers at the region have also recorded statements at Kampala metropolitan police headquarters.

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