Uganda Police To Watermark Bond Papers

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In short
The decision is part of an Anti-Corruption strategy recently launched and adopted by the Uganda Police Force top management. The watermarking lies on top of the list of nine strategies that have been adopted and await implementation and evaluation.

The Uganda Police Force is planning to watermark bond papers issued at police stations across the country, with an inscription; 'police bond is free'. The inscription is a new attempt at fighting corruption and extortion among investigating officers.

The decision is part of an Anti-Corruption strategy recently launched and adopted by the Uganda Police Force top management. The watermarking lies on top of the list of nine strategies that have been adopted and await implementation and evaluation.

According to the police Director Research and planning Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Edward Ochom, the watermark is meant to alert the suspects and their sureties that they are not supposed to pay for police bond.

The strategy also limits the issuance of a bond to the Officer in charge of Criminal Investigations at a police station and the district/Divisional Police Commander (DPC).
 
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The move follows complaints of extortion by police officers granting bond to suspects.

Two years ago, police top management resolved to write at all police stations a label confirming that police bond is free and encouraging people not to be forced to pay for police bond.  This, however, did not reduce the complaints of extortion by police officers, some of who charge millions of Shillings from naive embers of the public.

One of the complainants who URN talked to on condition of anonymity was arrested last year on an allegation of being involved in the theft of a Motor vehicle. He says he was made to pay 1.5million Shillings to the investigating officers before he was granted bond.

"They warned me that if I tell anyone, things will be bad.  When I reported to their boss, I was told to bring proof or evidence of the extortion."//

The other strategies to end corruption in the force include; enhancing salaries of the officers, increasing resources and facilitation for investigations as well as improving welfare for the police officers.

The strategy also looks at putting in place mechanisms to detect corruption and punitive measures for those involved in corruption, promote transparency and accountability in order to enhance public trust and confidence as well as during in place a framework for the prevention of corruption.
 
The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja says that while some of the things in the strategy will require government commitment, it, in general, is applicable and can easily be implemented.
 
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About the author

Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.