On Thursday, Buganda Road Grade One Magistrate, Ketty Joan Acaa remanded tycoon Abid Alam Mahmood to Kitalya prison in Wakiso district over charges of conspiracy to defeat the course of justice. This charge could be the weakest on a list of charges that are likely to be preferred against him when he returns to court again on May 8.
Abid, the proprietor of Wamala Farm Enterprises Ltd, has his name written over most of the violent land evictions at Bukompe village, Nalutuntu sub-county, Kassanda district. He wants the land to expand his sugarcane plantation which currently sits on a four-square-mile chunk of land.
His arraignment before the Buganda Road magistrate happened moments after his arrest at Matugga along the Kampala – Gulu Highway as he returned to Kampala from a meeting in Nakaseke with President Yoweri Museveni’s brother, Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh.
Well-placed sources have told us that since Abid’s first arrest on April 9, 2020, by operatives from Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema’s State House anti-corruption unit, Gen. Saleh has been working around the clock to reconcile the tycoon with Maj Arthur Mugyenyi, whose farm, Abid’s men raided in the night of April 3, 2020.
In the fateful night, Abid’s gang cut down Mugyenyi’s 3-acre banana plantation, drove away about 200 heads of cattle and 50 goats, razed three houses before gang-raping Samuel Kyakabale’s wife. Kyakabale is the in-charge of Mugyenyi’s farm. He himself was hacked to near death after he protested the raping of his wife in the full view of their children.
Several other locals have previously been driven off their land in a similar fashion but the tycoon always went away with it, only to realized that in the April 3 night raid on Mugyenyi’s farm, he had pressed the wrong button.
Mugyenyi is the deputy director for political intelligence at the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) but also comes from a well-grounded family in Nyabushozi, Kiruhura district.
His father, Charles Rutembara, was a close friend to the late Amos Kaguta – President Museveni’s father. According to sources, it is Rutembara who phoned Museveni to tell him about the atrocities that Abid’s men had committed. That is when Museveni instructed Nakalema and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Okoth-Ochola to act.
This led to the arrest of four police officers namely; Wilber Ostin Wanyama (Wamala Regional CID officer), Daniel Owellano (Kassanda District Police Commander), Peter Beitera (OC CID, Kassanda) and Wilson Azale (OC Records, Kassanda) for alleged mismanagement of case files, conspiracy to defeat justice and professional misconduct.
The quartet allegedly connived with Abid to kill 27 previous cases that had come up against him.
According to Police spokesman, Fred Enanga, the police officers had been giving copies of the case files to the tycoon which is against police conduct.
Before their arrest, the policemen had allegedly photocopied the rape case file (CRB 234/2020) against Abid’s men and gave him a copy.
When Abid realized that his atrocities had been committed at a “not- ordinary” farm, he immediately sought for Gen Saleh’s intervention.
On Tuesday, April 14, Abid drove to Saleh’s base at Namunkekeera in Nakaseke district with a suggestion that the president’s brother reconciles him with Maj Mugyenyi. Mugyenyi however declined, insisting that he wanted the matter to be decided by court.
He made a second attempt, this time, proposing to compensate Maj Mugyenyi based on a valuer’s assessment but the army man still declined.
When his case file moved from Nakalema’s office to CID headquarters, Kibuli in Kampala, Abid drove back to Nakaseke for yet another meeting while at the same time, Kassanda South MP, Simeo Nsubuga sought audience with President Museveni who reportedly advised his brother to stop shielding the tycoon.
Museveni later directed the deputy IGP Maj Gen. Sabiiti Muzeeyi and Nakalema to arrest the tycoon and prosecute him.
That is how operatives camped at Matugga, arrested him and drove him to Buganda Road court where he was jointly charged with the Kassanda policemen and remanded to Kitalya amid protests from his lawyer, Moses Nsubuga.
The policemen’s crime is conspiring the tycoon to defeat the course of justice by unlawfully releasing to him confidential information regarding a case file against him yet he was the prime suspect. This allegedly happened on April 8, 2020 between Mityana Regional Police Office and Ntinda in Kampala.
“He was not aware of these things, he has been reading about them in newspapers. He was ambushed while on his way back home. Neither were we, as lawyers, aware of the charge,” Nsubuga said.
His namesake, the Kassanda South MP, Simeo Nsubuga was chest-thumping because the man who has previously claimed to be “untouchable” had booked a place in jail.
“I thank President Museveni for having personally intervened in the matter and caused for the arrest of Abid because for long, he has terrorized my constituents for some time, but all our efforts to petition different government agencies have been futile. I took this matter to the floor of Parliament, there are several cases at police but the police sat on them because they have been on his payroll,” the MP said.