The top police management has suspended the Moroto District Criminal Investigations Officer, Robert Byayo on allegations of defying lawful orders. Byayo’s suspension letter arrived in Moroto on Sunday evening shortly after his release on police bond.
Trouble for Byayo started when he released 496 bags of sugar impounded in a joint operation involving the Police, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Uganda Revenue Authority. The officials impounded the sugar after finding it being repackaged in a paper bags to look like Kenyan sugar yet it originated from Mayuge factory. The owners of the sugar fled into hiding.
However, Byayo released the impounded sugar under unclear circumstances leading to his arrest and subsequent suspension. Michael Longole, the Karamoja police spokesperson has confirmed Byayo’s suspension.
“Yes we have received the letter and we have passed it over to him. He is not supposed to hold any office until the investigations are concluded,” he said. Adding that, “What he did honestly was wrong because this sugar was impounded through the concerted effort of all stakeholders and not by an individual, which means releasing it should have involved all stakeholders like URA, UNBS and Interpol not him as an individual.”
According to Longole, Byayo ignored advice from the regional police commander and Zonal commander of the Anti-stock Theft Unit not to release the impounded sugar until they do conferencing-involving UNBS, Mayuge Sugar and Interpol. He says that the officer will appear before the court as soon as possible to answer charges of disobeying lawful orders, corruption and negligence on duty.
Byayo becomes the second CID boss in Moroto to be arrested for misconduct. In 2019, Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of state house Anti-corruption unit arrested the then Moroto CID boss; Judith Namatale for failure to explain why she didn’t act against Dr. Philip Kakungulu who was accused of removing a patient’s uterus under unclear circumstances.
Betty Nakut, one of the residents, says that suspending such officers without punishing them for their actions will not deter others. “Such officers should be dismissed with disgrace so that others can learn because the image of police is being spoiled by such corrupt officers,” she said.