A High Court in Uganda has fined one of the country’s senior police officers 50 million shillings ($13,375.02) over the illegal sale of a stolen vehicle.
The assistant commissioner of police and head of community policing department, Anatoli Muleterwa, unlawfully sold the vehicle stolen from Makerere University’s main library in 2008, where it had been parked for a paltry $267.50 (one million shillings), Daily Monitor reported.
The outlet stated that in the June 10 judgment, Justice Lydia Mugambe of Kampala High Court, observed that the “auctioning of the car in question, a pick-up, was done at the time when its search was on and that the Assistant Commissioner of Police was fully aware of its search.”
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“I find that the 2nd respondent (Muleterwa), a police officer, who was fully aware of the search operation for the lost car at the material time, was grossly involved in the misappropriation of the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff’s car was sold to the 2nd defendant’s wife illegally,” the judge ruled, the outlet reported.
“The 2nd defendant (Muleterwa), is warned seriously to desist from using his office to the prejudice of unsuspecting citizens. In addition, the 2nd defendant shall pay Shs50m of the plaintiff’s total award or be committed to civil prison.”
In his defense, Muleterwa denied illegally auctioning the stolen vehicle to his wife. He argued in his written statement to the court that the auctioning followed complaints he received from the custodian of the stolen vehicle about the need for decongestion.
Muleterwa said due process was followed before the vehicle was auctioned and that he had applied and was granted a court warrant for the disposal of the vehicle and other unclaimed properties.
But the judge will not budge, stating that the stolen car wasn’t part of the list of unclaimed properties publicly auctioned.
“Needless to say is the close relationship of wife and husband between DW1 (Muleterwa) and Kizza Margaret, who bought the car, which demonstrates a conflict of interest in DW1’s dealings in relation to this car,” Justice Mugambe said.