Crime & Investigation

How Arms Deal Exposed Military Chiefs

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces and the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday morning in an urgent press briefing admitted there was a fake arms deal that has tarnished their name.

This investigative website last month unearthed a network in which fraudsters reportedly aided by senior army officers including the Chief of Staff Land Forces, ed Brig .Leopold Kyanda took money from a Polish arms dealing company so as to provide equipment to the UPDF.

This was however refuted as baseless by the Ugandan army saying it was being spread by enemies of the state with their own ill motives.

“This is a psychological war launched by the enemies of the people of Uganda, ailment targeting the top leadership of the UPDF with a view to breaking the trust the people have in their national force,” said the UPDF and Defence Ministry spokesperson Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda in a statement last week.

He added, “Any persons who try to break this bond will be stopped using the strong arm of the law.”

However on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Ankunda admitted there were investigations into the fake arms deal being handled by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and the Special Investigations Unit.

“This matter has solicited a lot of publicity and we thought we should come out to clarify that it is being investigated,” Col. Ankunda told journalists.

In the investigative report by this website, it was indicated how in  early 2015, a meeting was held at Bombo Army Headquarters Boardroom among UPDF officers and representatives of a Polish company known as BPM Poland located in Al Jerozolimskie, Warzawa.

The Polish contractors also were instructed to arrange for the supply of Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) including Mambas and self-propelled artillery equipment after signing a contract in relation to the subject.

The UPDF and Defence Ministry spokesperson admitted that the fake deal involved supply of armored equipment including vehicles and body armors to the Ugandan army.

The report also revealed that the Polish were later asked to send money amounting to 528,000 Euros (Shs 2bn) to ‘Prima Investments Company’ to help in paper work and on receiving it, the Ugandan dealers switched off their phones.

In the press briefing, Ankunda said the amount involved will also be part of the investigations into the matter.

The contractor further said their payments were deposited on Prima Investments Company account at Equity Bank.

Col. Ankunda said that in early 2015 fraudsters claiming to be representing UPDF had held a meeting the Land Forces boardroom in Bombo with representatives of a Polish company.

Ankunda also admitted that there have been ongoing investigations into the matter contrary to what he had said last week when he denied anything of the sort.

“Initial investigations have revealed that an acceptance agreement was issued by another member on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, a one self-styled Maj. Gen.Wamala Waliyaya,” he said on Wednesday.

“The investigations necessitated the arrest of 2 suspects among them, Capt. Muhoozi and Sam Ssimbwa who are being held by the joint investigations team.”

Put to task to explain how the fraudsters had gained access to the Bombo Land Forces headquarters’ boardroom as ChimpReports’ investigative team had earlier indicated, Ankunda also wondered how this could have happened stressing there should have been help from a high ranking officer.

Asked to explain the role of the Chief of Land Forces Brig. Leopold Kyanda whom ChimpReports investigations had placed in the centre of this fake deal after the telephone analysis showed he was in contact with Ssimbwa, the UPDF spokesperson could not deny it but said this was also subject to investigation.

“This is a wide investigation and our commitment is that we will leave no stone unturned. If anybody is pointed at to have had a hand in it and is found to be culpable, they will be dealt with,” he noted.

He said the army will not condone the act and there will not be any cover for anyone involved because “our name is bigger than any individual.”

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