The Police have today, Friday, 8th February 2019, released on bond four suspects who turned out to be journalists and a one Vivian Nakalika who were arrested yesterday, 7th February, 2019, on actionable intelligence surrounding the alleged purchase and sell of government drugs.
The four journalists included; Godfrey Badebye, Shafiq Kisame, Rashid Kisame, Muhammad Kassim and Vivian Nakalika in whose home the alleged illegally acquired government drugs were recovered from.
The statement of Solomon Serwanja, a journalist working with NBS, who appeared today at CPS Kampala, has been recorded. He was thereafter, released on police bond.
“We are aware of the important role the media plays in investigative reporting, debates, discussion, background and analysis, as well as new stories; not withstanding their journalistic duty to obey the ordinary criminal law, in the course of their duties, and we highly commend them for their tireless efforts in fighting corruption,” CP Enanga Fred, Police Spokesperson, told press.
“We would like to further acknowledge that Next Media in partnership with local correspondents from the BBC, while working on a tip, independently planned and carried out their operations surrounding the illegal sell of government drugs in selected government hospitals in Arua, Gulu and Kirudu. It is clear that their motive was to show how easy it was to buy government drugs and its conduit.”
NBS TV news anchor Solomon Serwanjja says it’s true they were in possession of gov’t drugs coz they were working on an investigation story exposing the cartel behind theft of govt drugs from public health centres 📹@bamulanzeki #JournalismIsNotACrime pic.twitter.com/wjNG139pE3
— The Observer (@observerug) February 8, 2019
He added: “We do encourage them to continue with their documentary programme and achieve their intended objective of exposing their targets, to help prevent such occurrences in future.”
The police has created a task team which is building further on the available facts on file, to establish the culprits behind the alleged theft and sale of government drugs, in these government hospitals and will ensure all suspects that are criminally liable are brought to book.
“We are also closely working with the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution for legal guidance on as to whether the journalists mentioned above, in their quest for a story of essential importance to society could have breached any rules on the acquisition of government drugs and its safety considerations or not.”