Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Trouble With The Police

…Continued from last Sunday

Being on police bond has got me rattled. I am to report to Kiira Road police station every Friday at 10:00am until the State, decides whether or not, it will go ahead and prosecute me for ‘threatening the life of Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi’ because I took a picture of his sh600 Mercedes Benz.

Last Friday, I was unable to make it for 10:00am as it was stated and got there close to noon. Up in the CID offices, I was tossed from room 14 to room 15 and then back again to room 14.

I can’t recall the name of the CID policewoman on duty who wanted to know who was dealing with me. I told her no one was, and that I was merely advised to present myself to any CID officer in room 14.

CID Policewoman merely took my charge sheet, signed it and told me to report again the following Friday at 10:00am.

The funny thing about a police bond, is that the police do not keep any record of your having turned up at the police station. I could have skipped turning up and if they had decided to look for me, all I have to do is to say: “I have been turning up, but lost the charge sheet” and I guess that would have been that?

From Kiira Road police station to Kabalagala police station where yet again I had another run in with the police though this time, it was not as sinister as threatening the life of the Prime Minister.

Over the weekend, I had left my ride in the office compound of a friend of mine – let’s call him Muloodi for arguments sake. He was aware of it but when the security company that guards his office turned up and saw the car parked there, they demanded to know from Askari on Duty whose car it was. Askari on Duty told them that he had found it there when he reported for duty.

And that was it. Rather than the security company calling Muloodi to find out if they knew anything about my ride, they deemed it to be ‘abandoned’, called the OC at Kabalagala Police Station and who ordered it be towed to the police station.

It was not until Monday that I found the car had been taken to Kabalagala police station. But if I thought that getting it back was going to be an easy affair, ha, I was way off the mark.

I had to turn up with the original log book which I did, but forgot to take some form of identification to which, OC Kabalagala tore into me. Here is the kaboozi.

OC Kabalagala: “Where is your ID?”

TB: “I forgot to bring it.”

OC Kabalagala: “You man, you are not being serious! You think you just walk about with no identification?! Where is the log book?”

With the log book presented, OC Kabalagala had to verify that it was for real and with that, he took me to the traffic police room where Police Woman with Three stripes promptly declared it to be a forgery because the silver seal was faint and the stamp from URA was not properly visible.

After most of Kabalagala police station had rubbed their thumbs over the silver seal and each one given their verdicts that ranged between “it’s a forgery” to “where did you get the card from” to “who is the suspect”, I had to make a statement.

Police Woman Taking Statement, just like OC Kabalagala insisted on using the word ‘abandoned’. And I insisted that the car was not abandoned because it was parked in an office compound with the full consent of Muloodi and that the car was illegally towed away and without my consent or that of Muloodi.

But they were not having it. They insisted the car had been abandoned and despite Muloodi telling them it had not. Once they were satisfied that the card was genuine and had not been stolen as Askari on Duty had told his superiors, I thought that was it. I can get into the ride and drive off.

Ha, but there was the tow truck to be paid for and for that, they wanted sh130,000 for towing it from Kiwafu Road in Kansanga to the police station!

Of course I refused to pay. Why would I pay yet it was not I, who had called for the tow truck and that between OC Kabalagala and Security Company, it was they who had called for the tow truck.

But nope, they were not having it. In fact there was some sort of deal going on between, OC Kabalagala, Security Company and Tow Truck Man.

So I ‘abandoned’ the car in the police yard and returned the following day with the money. OC Kabalagala was not in but in Namugongo for a meeting and advised I deal with Three Stars Policeman in an office behind the counter.

But Three Stars Policeman was also out. However, one of the rank and file officers went out of his way to locate Three Stars Policeman and after he had reviewed the situation and that all was in order, he released the car.

However, there was a ‘but’. Three Stars Policeman wanted airtime. I had seen this coming so I gave Rank and File Officer 5k for his troubles and asked him to also pass on 5k to Three Stars Policeman for his airtime.

This is what happened next.

Rank and File Policeman: “Eh but you man, Three Stars Policeman will be angry!”

TB: “Why would he be angry?

Rank and File Policeman: “You can’t just give him 5k! He is Three Stars Policeman!”

TB: “Is this not extortion? Am I supposed to pay the police for having my car released?”

With that, he kept mum and slithered away. Sadly, that was not the end of the saga for at the Quarter Guard, three other policemen were waiting for ‘their dues’ and the one in charge did not mince his words for he was straight to the point.

Quarter Guard: “Chief, there are three of us who were guarding your car over the weekend. You look at it, nothing has been stolen.”

TB: “You mean even at the police station people steal wing mirrors and lights?”

Quarter Guard: “You man, you are funny. Anyway, even though Three Stars Policeman has released your car, I am the final authority. You have to look after my boys and I.”

TB: “But I thought that…”

Quarter Guard: “You want your car to stay here for another night?”

So I offered him 10k and of course, that did not go down well with him. Another 10k did the trick and with that, I was in my ride and out of there.

But before I left, I was given a lecture about abandoning rides in my friend’s compounds.

But to OC Kabalagala, Three Stars Policeman, Quarter Guard, Rank and File Policeman, how could my car have been abandoned when:

1. It was parked at Muloodi’s office with his full consent and knowledge.

2. Why did you make me pay for towing charges yet it was OC Kabalagala and the security company who authorized the tow?

3. Why did I have to pay Three Stars Policeman, Rank and File Policeman, and Quarter Guard to have my car released?

With that, I guess I should ring up the Attorney General, Kiddu Makubuya and find out if I have any legal ground to stand because, I am considering taking legal action against Kabalagala police for intimidation, theft of my car, loss of earnings through having to pay bribes, loss of earnings for have spent the best part of a day trying to get my car out of the police station and being forced to pay monies to individuals in the police, monies that I am not supposed to have paid and which left me out of pocket.

To Be Continued…

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