Red Pepper Uganda

Police Reopens Anti-Narcotic Offices

The Police and Advisory Committee (PAC) cleared the reopening of the Anti-Narcotic Department offices at the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) headquarters in Kibuli and Entebbe Airport eight on Wednesday last week eight months after they were sealed off as crime scenes.

The department was sealed off in November 2017 when its head, Tinka Zarugaba was arrested for theft and tampering with Cocaine exhibits at Entebbe Airport. Zarugaba was arraigned in Entebbe Magistrate Court together with six other senior and junior police officers including the then Commandant of the Very Important Person Police Unit (VIPPU), Dodovico Awita.

They were charged with tampering with 85kgs of Cocaine exhibit and exchanging it with Cassava Flour. However, prosecution dropped the charges against Tinka Zarugaba and another officer in January 2018 leaving only five of the suspects to face the charges of theft and evidence tampering.

In May 2018, the Entebbe Chief Magistrate dismissed the case on ground that Prosecution was wasting the Court’s time by asking for time to complete investigations.  The DPP is set to reinstate the case once investigations are completed. However, on Wednesday August 1st 2018, the Director of the Criminal Investigations Directorate, Grace Akullo informed the Police and Advisory Committee-PAC that the department is still closed despite the fact that the case was dismissed from Court.

The Police and Advisory Committee, which is comprised of Inspector General of Police (IGP), Deputy IGP, Undersecretary and all police directors resolved to reopen the offices. The police spokesperson in charge CID Vincent Ssekate confirmed the opening of the Anti-Narcotic Department office. “It is true they have opened the office,” Ssekate said.

Following the resolution to reopen the department, Akullo constituted a team of seven officers including one from the Government Analytical Laboratory to review every exhibit stored in the Anti-Narcotic Department. The team was expected to look at every exhibit and ensure that it still has the original seal of the Analytical Laboratory and signed by the personal who did the analysis.

After reviewing the exhibits in Kibuli, the team was also expected to move to Entebbe Airport Police where the department’s office was also sealed off and reopen it in the presence of operatives from both the Chieftaincy Military Intelligence (CMI) and Internal Security Organisation (ISO).

According to a source privy to the process, in cases where there has been any tampering with the seal, the exhibit would be sent back to the analytical laboratory to prove whether the content has not been exchanged. “If any has been tampered with, the responsible officers will have a case to answer,” the officer told URN in condition of anonymity.

The Analytical laboratory report on narcotics shows the contents and the percentage of their concentration.

-URN
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