KAMPALA – A few years ago, there was a story doing rounds on social media that a man named Moses in South Africa was arrested and charged for the disappearance of his friend Faisal with whom he was last seen drinking in a bar.
Three weeks later, human body parts were found floating in a drum of acid in a nearby abandoned factory building. The police concluded that the samples of the floating body parts were Faisal’s remains.
They prepared the file, had the same sanctioned before Moses was arraigned in court for murder charges. Evidence was led and after two years, Moses was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
After serving for 25 years, Faisal appeared, for he had been serving 25 years in jail for armed robbery in neighboring Botswana.
With this story at the back of my mind, I don’t take any story I see in the media as gospel truth especially in a country like Uganda where everyone is a suspect, where anyone can be framed by anyone at any time for good and bad reasons.
I have read, heard, and watched several stories about the disappearance of Immaculate Mary Blessing Asio, the deceased wife of Francis Onebe who was captured on CCTV cameras being kidnapped and pushed into a drone. Even without trying to find out who was behind the kidnap, one question comes to my mind; which person or entity in Uganda has been in the habit of using drones to kidnap. If your answer is as good as mine, then the next question should be; has Onebe stepped on the toes of any of the untouchable mafias, if your answer is yes, then that is the beginning of this discussion. The last area is whether or not Onebe had a political, financial, or marital problem at the time of the alleged kidnap.
I must confess I do not know Francis Onebe but the little I have read about him shows that he is one of the co-owners of Pentagon security and has been the Managing Partner at Price & King, one of the largest regional accounting, tax, and business advisory firm. I must also state that I do not know whether he is innocent or he had a hand in the disappearance and subsequent murder of his wife but I have questions regarding the way police conducted itself before, during, and after the arrest. For now, it is safer talking about the disappearance, the alleged murder, the DNA report, and the charges of murder against him.
The information provided by the police is that the body that they retrieved from the septic tank was still intact as if it had just been dumped into the septic tank within a period of one month yet Immaculate is said to have disappeared on the 6th of January, almost 8 days before the 14th January, 2021 President, and the Parliament General elections. By making that reference, I want the readers to take cognizance of the timing of the kidnap. How did the police know the body they retrieved was for Immaculate when it did not have ahead.
This school of thought insinuates that if it is true that the body is that of Immaculate, then she was kept alive until around July when she was killed. If indeed the body was fresh, then you cannot say Emma Oriokot, the security guard who disappeared in January knew where immaculate remains were kept, at least not in the septic tank. For those with some knowledge about the sewer system know that the contents in the septic tank are so acidic, the human body thrown in there would easily decomposing in just a few weeks. If it is true that it is Oriokot who told the Police that the body of Immaculate was dumped in the septic tank, then that means the incident happened in January but how come by September, the body was still fresh as if it had been there for less than a month.
It was widely expected that the DNA report would turn out positive; after all, the samples were examined at the instigation of Uganda Police, the very institution that is investigating the case. For me, this means that if the police have an interest in the case, they would do whatever is within their means to secure a positive response. Just like it was the case in the Hon. Nebanda’s case, nobody, not even Onebe will be allowed to seek a second opinion to confirm, vary or contradict the DNA report by the Government Analytical Laboratory.
Mr. Onebe is on record for having informed the Police that he was unsure if the recovered body was that of his missing wife. For me, this is a ground to allow a second but independent opinion to water down Onebe’s fears. Fortunately, this will be a ground to challenge that report in court and may lead to the dismissal of the case against Onebe but after languishing under incarceration or dying in prison.
Secondly, I want to dig my fangs into the initial information provided by the police that they retrieved two bodies from the septic tank at Onebe’s home. To say so means that the homicide team at the Criminal Investigations Directorate had seen two heads, four hands, four legs before making the declaration to the public that they had found two bodies. What influenced their decision to say they had made a mistake to say there were two bodies after carrying out the solitary DNA test? With this contradiction, one would be forced to conclude that police were concocting information to implicate Onebe and portray him as a killer before the public court and the numerous women organizations in Uganda.
So far, there is information that Immaculate lived in fear, faced physical and emotional torture from her family to the extent that she had documented some of the incidents. Being the chief executive of Pentagon Security Services Ltd and other investments in and out of Uganda could have placed her on a collision course with business partners or even her own family. After retrieving the Immaculate body, detectives claimed to have discovered that a sack they presumed to have been filled with stones and tied to the dead body to force it to settle at the bottom of the septic tank, instead contained a human skull and skeleton. To me, this means that they physically saw a second body with their eyes.
The Police were quick to also send samples taken from the bone structure for DNA analysis to ascertain whether remains could belong to Onebe’s former and missing house-help, who is reported to have vanished around the same period her employer, Ms Asio disappeared. Now that the police have ruled out the presence of a second body in the septic tank, has anyone in the police bothered to investigate where Onebe’s housemaid is, after all, police insisted with the help of the local council and neighbours that the couple had a maid despite his denial that he never had any?
It is also said that Police had placed Emma Oriokot on its wanted list and when he allegedly returned almost 8 months later and jumped over the wall of Onebe’s compound. It is claimed that he- Oriokot was sighted by the new guard who locked him in the latrine and called the police. Was this particular security so stupid to treat an intruder like Oriokot with glove hands? why didn’t the new security guard shoot, how come Oriokot did not put up any resistance when he was locked in the latrine? Here is another question for us to digest, How come this particular guard opted to report to the police instead of his employer as is always the case with their reporting systems. Didn’t Oriokot know that the home was guarded and that it was risky to jump over, after all he was Onebe’s former guard.
If I were Onebe’s Lawyers, I would not waste time challenging the DNA report, it must be accurate and indeed the remains from which the Police picked samples belongs to Immaculate. The question would be to try to establish if the arrival of Oriokot was a well-calculated plan to place a bag in the septic tank, then swing into action and retrieve the same for public display. After all, Onebe was not at home during the exercise yet the police went ahead and allegedly retrieved the slightly decomposed corpse and took it for autopsy at the City Mortuary in Mulago. Who knows if the immaculate body was already in the mortuary at that aim of taking what they retrieved to Mulago was to construct a chronological flow of events to implicate Onebe.
I want to retaliate that Onebe’ crime was picking the CCTV footage of the Kidnap and exposed the same which act embarrassed the police who are mandated to protect the lives of Ugandans and their properties. Why have the Police refused to investigate Onebe’s alarm since January when the case was first reported and to disclose the particulars of the vehicle in the footage to enable the public to appreciate whether it was hired or belonged to Onebe to kidnap his wife in order to implicate the innocent security agencies?
By claiming that the police found that the CCTV cameras at the couple’s matrimonial home disconnected and later went missing is part of a ploy to justify their accusation against Onebe. Secondly, the Police also claimed they discovered that carpets thought to have been in the house had been changed alongside the curtains and they were washed and stored in the Boy’s Quarter and the walls of the main house repainted.
Police said they could not immediately establish the motive and person behind the revamp, which has the potential to conceal or destroy incriminating evidence. As a result, detectives recovered no footage, which would have helped establish if Immaculate was killed in that house or elsewhere.
Has anyone picked interest in knowing why the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence is involved in the case of a civilian? CMI has argued that they have taken an interest because Onebe had earlier implicated them among those possibly holding his missing wife.
From the time Dr. Besigye was implicated in a case of rape and his alleged victim wired with gargets in order to help her answer questions in court, I don’t take anything for granted and I will never point an accusing finger at a suspect. For now, readers can be assured of one thing, Oriokot is going to be let off the hook, turned into witnesses against Onebe and after a good job, he will be rewarded accordingly.
For those of us who have been reading the history of mafia politics in Uganda know that the ritual killing of 12-year-old Joseph Kasirye was done by Umar Kateragga, and Mariam Nabukeera allegedly on orders of businessman Godfrey Kato Kajubi. Surprisingly, Kajubi who should have been charged with aiding and abetting was found guilty of the offense he did not actually commit directly and sent to prison.
The decision went beyond the definition of murder as provided under Sections 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act even when the actual murderers had confessed to the killing. Sadly for Onebe, his predicament has come at a wrong time when the President is working so hard to ensure that bail for capital offenses is no longer a constitutional right.
I would like Ugandans to take note of various cases where prime suspects have been turned into witnesses and whenever this happens, just know somebody high up in the corridors of power has an interest in the case.
This business of turning some suspects against others if left unchecked will continue to push innocent people to suffer injustices because they are perceived to be enemies of the state or those whose business empires are wanted by those in power or those with close ties with those holding power.
Why is it that all secret murders in the jurisdiction of Kabalagala hide the bodies of their victims in septic tanks? For those investigating the case of Onebe, here are some verses for you to read: Exodus 20:16, Exodus 23:1, Deuteronomy 5:20, and Proverbs 3:30. John 2:21, Isaiah 59:13, Acts 5:1-9, Ephesians 4:25, Timothy 1:10. It is for the foregoing reasons that I implore Ugandans not celebrate Onebe’s predicament, all of us potential victims of such a mafia network, today is Onebe, tomorrow is somebody else.
Roger Wadada Musaalo is a Lawyer, human rights activist, researcher, and politician