After a seven-year hunt, police have arrested a Briton accused of stealing and smuggling cars from Britain into Uganda.
The Flying Squad Unit (FSU) arrested the suspect after he was tricked by Mr Eric Alema, a victim of his car deals, and Mr Alema’s friend who posed as a car buyer.
Mr Richardson Jack Arthur, who also possesses a Ugandan passport, shot into the limelight in 2011 when he stole and sold a UK-made car to Mr Alema at Ush120 million.
But it was later discovered that the car’s inbuilt Global Positioning System (GPS), vital for tracking the vehicle, had been dismantled – perhaps to evade detection by the manufacturer.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire confirmed that the suspect was arrested by FSU on Friday morning at Bugolobi, a Kampala City suburb in Nakawa Division.
“We have him here [Kampala Central Police Station] and we are interrogating him. We want to get good information that will help us to arrest his accomplices. It is a big racket and his arrest is an opportunity for us to arrest the whole group,” Mr Owoyesigyire said.
Mr Alema, a UN employee, said he had been taken in circles by police officers, especially in the crime intelligence and investigations departments such as the Criminal Investigations Departments (CID) and Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and now the FSU.
After his second attempt to seek the CID’s intervention failed in 2015, Mr Alema petitioned the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on January 8, 2018.
“I was tossed for several years and police officers never bothered [to listen] even when I could tell them that I had information about the suspects’ whereabouts. I think they had bribed many officers in CID. I was fed up with the police jokes. I went and secured a directive from DPP,” Mr Alema said.
The DPP responded a day later, directing the CID to submit the two files to his office for review.
Police submitted the files to the DPP and upon reviewing it the DPP noted that there was satisfying evidence in the files to prosecute Mr Arthur and his two accomplices – Mr Wilson Kanyankole and Moses Esimu aka Momo.
The DPP added that the suspects had committed a crime by selling a car for which they did not have proper documents.
“The rightful owners of the car emerged and rightly asserted their claim to the car as a result of which the complainant suffered substantial loss. The suspects’ explanations do not add up,” Mr William Byansi stated in his response to the CID on behalf of DPP.
He advised CID to prepare the charges and forward them to the Resident State Attorney at Buganda Road Court for subsequent proceedings.
Cars smuggled into Uganda are mainly stolen from overseas, particularly the United Kingdom.
Some Uganda Revenue Authority staffers are suspected of colluding with thieves and smugglers to clear stolen vehicles, many of which are top-of-the-range cars.