Major Tom Magambo, the newly appointed Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate in the Uganda Police Force officially assumed office mid this week. He replaced Assistant Inspector General of Police and career police officer, Grace Akullo, who held led the portfolio for 11 years.
Numerous tests await Magambo who will also be addressed as Assistant Inspector General of Police. These challenges have consistently featured in the Annual Crime reports compiled by the CID. They were also captured in Akullo’s handover report, which Uganda Radio Network (URN) has seen.
Although there are many issues that even the police leadership at the Naguru headquarters is aware of that are hampering the effective operation of the CID, five have been listed as the key including slow investigations, prosecution and conviction of suspects.
The latest population estimates by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and Worldometer put Ugandans population at 42 and 45 million people respectively. Police say every year the country’s population has been sprouting, so is the crime rate. Akullo indicates that CID needs to recruit at least 9,000 additional detectives to supplement the current 5,619 detectives in order to match the crime rate.
“CID is presently operating below the recommended UN standard of 1:12 (one detective to 12 case files) per year. In crime-prone areas like KMP, detectives handle up to 50 case files per year. This has led to work overload leading to delays in case processing resulting in case backlog and sometimes poor case outcomes,” Akullo states. On average, CID has been recording 200,000 cases every year but the highest they have taken to the courts of law in a single was 34 percent.
Almost in all her reports, Akullo has been advocating for an increment of the CID budget in vain. The CID budget has been rotating oscillating between Shillings 45B and Shilling 55Billion annually. But Akullo indicates that the simplest case costs Shillings 500,000. Such cases include affray and snatching.
Akullo adds that investigating serious cases such as homicide, aggravated robberies, and organized crime syndicates requires a minimum of Shillings 5million.
In 2020, CID recorded 4,460 homicide cases. These would require Shillings 22.3 billion if they were to be pursued to conclusion. CID also recorded 734 cases of aggravated robberies, which would require Shillings 3.6 billion to investigate.
“Other complex cases like the 2010 bombing case, ADF case, Corruption cases of OPM, Public Services Pension scam required special funding. Jamil Mukulu cases, we are still spending to date,” AIGP Akullo adds. AIGP Akullo adds that even fuel given to CID is inadequate. Regional CID offices are allocated between Shillings 400,000 to Shillings 500,000 worth of fuel, while District/Divisional CID Officers get a paltry between Shillings100,000 to Shillings 200,000 every month.
Fights within police units
Although Akullo did not state anything about fights within different units contributing to the underperformance of CID, senior police officers have told URN that Akullo has been facing resistance from units supposed to cooperate with her office. It is alleged that many heads of units would deliberately refuse to hand their intelligence and investigations report to her.
These include the Crime Intelligence led by Brig Chris Damulira, SID which is police established but currently seized by army officers especially from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and revamped Flying Squad Unit when it was under the command of ACP Herbert Muhangi who reported directly to IGP Gen Edward Kale Kayihura.
“Ever since Crime Intelligence became a directorate, it rarely shares its intelligence even to IGP himself. OCs, DPCs and RPCs who are supposed to utilise such intelligence to avert crime have never been briefed at all. In fact, one senior detective at CID raised the matter during a meeting but all crime intelligence officers walked out in protest,” a senior detective said.
Akullo adds that transport is another big setback in the investigation as it affects the speed at which inquiries are conducted more so in terms of response time. Out of 28 regional CID officers, only four have police vehicles. The rest depend on Saloon cars, which are not in good mechanical condition.
CID needs fleets at stations, divisions and regions for its activities like visiting Scenes of Crime, movements to and from Scenes of Crime, Resident State Attorneys (RSA) and Court, Hospitals, statement recording, transportation of victims of crimes to the Hospitals for examination, suspects from scenes, other places of arrests, to do for medical examination. Regional, Districts/Divisional CID Officers need sound motor vehicles to carry out CID activities.
Another reason which has frustrated the successful prosecution of cases over the years as indicated by Akullo is limited exhibit stores, which affects the quality of the exhibits presented before the court. This leads to a break in the chain of evidence during prosecution and benefits the accused and affects the eventual outcome of the case leading to acquittals.
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