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As you are all aware, our task teams of CID HQs, KMP, IT, Forensic, FSU and CMI continue to investigate the horrific murder of Indian Businessman, UTTAM BHANDARI SAREMAL, the Director of TFS Financial Services, who was allegedly shot dead by PC Ivan Wabwire, on the 12.05.2023, at around 10am. The incident was captured on CCTV and the footages which were released were completely upsetting. The incident was reported to the police at Kampala Road, Post, after two and a half hours, at 12.30pm and is now the third shooting of high-profile people, within a space of two weeks, which has stimulated a lot of questions and debate on gun handling protocols and use of deadly force by security personnel.

As we look for the answers, we do admit that the actions of our officer are highly regrettable. Its incredibly disappointing to see an innocent person lose their life in such a manner, by an officer who is mandated by law and training to protect lives. We continue to extend our condolences to the family of UTTAM BHANDARI SAREMAL, The Indian Community in Uganda, friends and staff of TFS Financial Services.

The findings so far, clearly indicate that the actions of our officer were deliberate, planned and pre-meditated. On the 11.05, the suspect while in civilian clothes he met with Mr. UTTAM Bhandari, to establish his loan status and further discuss plans on how to trade it off, for a salary loan at Stanbic Bank, William Street Branch. The suspect acquired an initial loan from TFS Financial Services on 5.08.2020 of Ugx 1,000,000/= with an interest of 320,000/= after twelve months. The total remittance being 1.320,000/= and or 12 monthly installments of Ugx 110,000/=. Again on the 5.05.2021, he acquired a second loan of Ugx 1,000,000/= on similar terms, but defaulted on the loan. He was not convinced by the outstanding loan quotation.

The following day of 12.05.2023, the suspect in his full uniform, picked an SMG Riffle with 4 magazines, that had been left in the room by PC Stephen Muromba, left his beat at CPS and went straight to meet the Director TFS Financial Services. While at their offices at Raja Chambers along Parliament Avenue, he signed in the visitor’s book, and went straight to meet Mr. Uttam Bhandari. He maintained a standing position with his hand on the gun, had a shot verbal exchange with the Director, and immediately after fired several shots at the victim.  He then moved out briefly and returned to the scene to pick his loan documents. He fired more bullets at the victim, when he found him still holding his breath, and killed him.  His target was the victim and no one else. Out of 12 bullets that were fired, 9 of them fatally wounded the victim

After the deadly shooting the suspect confidently moved out, jumped on a boda boda that dropped him at CPS Kampala. He returned the gun and asked a colleague to watch over it and disappeared. There was no report received or suspicious till this stage. Its unfortunate that there was no quick reaction or thoughtful attention, regarding the conduct of the officer, before, during and after the shooting.  The officer escaped to his village at Bwalila, Bumango Parish, Masinya subcounty, in Busia district. He was arrested on the 14.05.2023 at around 7am, at Uganda customs, while trying to cross into Kenya. We would like to thank the arresting team of Flying Squad, KMP and DPC Busia for their efforts.

The suspect was sound and in very good shape and transferred to KMP Headquarters, where he was examined by a medical doctor who established him to be normal and sound. Upon interrogation, the officer had no remorse and admitted to having murdered the victim, for allegedly cheating him. Arrangements were also made to have an extra judicial statement recorded from him by the Magistrate.

It’s true that the tragic murder could have been avoided if the owner of the killer weapon, PC Stephen Muromba, had not left it unattended in their shared room. As our force policy on use of firearms demands, he should have returned the gun to Armory, before moving out of the station. He instead, without lawful permission sneaked out of the station to attend to a personal matter, which is an outright case of gross indiscipline and negligence. As a result, he was charged and dismissed from the force. He will further appear in the criminal court on charges of neglect of duty. The victim paid the price for his negligence with his life. His immediate supervisors also face disciplinary sanctions, for poor supervision taken to criminal court for negligence.

To all Ugandans and visitors in the country, we pledge to continue working hard to maintain and improve your trust, as before. In an effort to increase transparency, accountability, professionalism and community safety, we have issued further guidelines on gun handling and use of force to all our officers. We have also included scenario-based exercises, anger management and de-escalation techniques.

We believe these initiatives will help improve public trust and confidence and promote better gun handling skills and community safety.

SCP Enanga Fred

Police Spokesperson

15th May 2023

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