KAMPALA. The top leadership of the police has written to their subordinates alerting them that each individual officer will be held accountable for any misconduct that will attract a court award.
“The purpose of this circular, therefore, is to inform you that officers will be personally held accountable for their actions leading to court awards,” the stern circular authored by the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr Okoth Ochola, on behalf of his boss Gen Kale Kayihura, reads in part.
The communication to police officers is in line with the government’s bigger move to decentralise the handling of court awards from the institutions where they accrue as proposed in the Budget call for financial year 2016/17.
By decentralising, it means that payment of court awards would be borne by the line institution and not to shift the burden to the office of the Attorney General.
Further, decentralising the process is intended to manage the challenges arising out of the court awards and also ensure that accounting officers are fully accountable for their actions.
“This implies that where the actions of the police officers lead court to give awards and/or compensation to victims, payment shall be borne by the Uganda Police Force as an institution and not the Attorney General as has been the case,” the notice further reads.
The call by the police leadership comes several years after a law dubbed The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012 was passed to hold individual government perpetrators of torture and not the institution culpable. However, the enforcement of this law had been wanting.
In the recent past, President Museveni penned an open letter to heads of various security agencies, sternly warning them never to use torture as a means of extracting information from suspects.
Mr Museveni’s letter that was addressed to Gen Kayihura, Chief of Defense Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, Internal Security Organisation boss, Col Frank Kaka Bagyenda and External Security Organisation boss, Joseph Ocwet, came in the awake of leaked gruesome images of Kamwenge mayor Geoffrey Byamukama nursing deep cut wounds at Nakasero Hospital.
The President advised that the investigators to do their work well and patiently gather sufficient evidence against the suspected criminals that will result into convictions in court.
The police had arrested the mayor in connection with the murder of the late police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
The mayor attributed the rotting wounds he was nursing to the reportedly torture that the police meted on him while in their detention at Nalufenya Police Station located on the banks of River Nile.