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Police’s Mineral Unit boss sacked after Shs240m theft from Gambian national

Kampala, (UG):- The Police Mineral Protection Unit (MPPU) commandant has been shown the exit in the wake of an ongoing probe into a significant theft of over 240 million Uganda shillings from a Gambian national.

Superintendent of Police, SSP Robert Ssenyondo has since been replaced by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Julius Caesar Tusingwire, according to an inside source with the Unit.

Subsequently, he (Ssenyondo) has been sent to the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi for a refresher course.

ACP Julius Caesar Tusingwire (above) is the new commandant Police Mineral Protection Unit. He replaces SSP Robert Ssenyondo

Genesis of Ssenyondo’s Troubles

The catalyst for these changes stems from a recent scandal involving the loss of over Sh240 million by a Gambian national. Trouble for minerals unit cops started last year when a Gambian national picked interest in Uganda’s lucrative gold business.

The individual (names withheld for now) is said to have fallen victim to fraudulent gold dealers in the city, losing approximately USD60000 (equivalent to about Sh240 million).

Subsequently, the Minerals Police initiated an investigation into the matter.

However, in a surprising turn of events, the victim himself was arrested and taken to the Minerals Police offices in Naguru.

Upon his arrest, a search yielded at his premises an additional USD120000 in his possession.

Subsequent investigations revealed that part of this money, specifically USD60000, had been tampered with and replaced with counterfeit currency while in police custody.

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Faced with this situation, the victim reported the incident to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), prompting further action.

Several officers attached to the Minerals Unit were subsequently arrested on robbery charges in January, including AIP Kayuja, AIP Okello, Sgt Kwesiga, Sgt Tuhamye, and Sgt Naturinda. These officers have since refunded the money and have been released on bond, avoiding dismissal from the force.

The wider implications of this scandal have led to broader scrutiny of the Police Minerals unit, established in 2017 to ensure the effective security of minerals in Uganda. Under the leadership of SSP Robert Ssenyondo, the unit was tasked with implementing various plans and strategies to combat illegal mining and raise awareness about safe mining practices.

Changes made in 2018 by then Deputy IGP Gen Paul Lokech saw SSP Robert Ssenyondo take over as the unit’s overall commandant. However, discontent has reportedly arisen within the unit, with individuals such as SP Agnes Apolot and OC CID Phillip Atwine expressing dissatisfaction with their positions.

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The MPPU operates through various zonal offices across different districts and border points. Each zone is headed by a commandant responsible for overseeing operations.

Despite the recent upheaval within the unit, efforts continue to ensure the effective enforcement of mining regulations and the prevention of illegal mining activities across Uganda.

Ssenyondo’s removal from MPPU marks one of the first changes in leadership following the departure of former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Martin Ochola.

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