Residents of Offaka Sub-county in Arua District have accused the police of demanding crates of beer before releasing suspects.
Some residents said they have been forced to comply with the unconstitutional practice because they are often desperate to have their relatives out of police cells.
“Here, if the police make any arrests, the first thing they ask for are crates of beer ranging from five to six before they can think of releasing your relative,” Ms Lillian Andama Lawrence, a resident of Offaka Sub-county, said last week.
Residents were speaking to members of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Freedom House, and Judicial Service Commission (JSC) who were visiting the area.
Ms Sydey Etima-Ojara, the deputy chief of party/judiciary technical advisor, and Ms Maria Kaddu Busuulwa, the coordinator of rights and rule of law at FHRI, maintained that police bond is free.
“This is an unfortunate demand by police, that is why we need more sensitisation to empower locals to resist these unconstitutional police demands,” Ms Ojara said.
“This also calls for continuous monitoring of police’s work to curb such behaviour.”
Mr Ronald Sekajja, the registrar, education and public affairs at JSC, asked residents to always demand receipts when paying money to government officials, including those from police and judiciary.
Mr Sekajja explained that any money paid to a government official and is not receipted is a bribe and will not be accounted for in future.
However, Mr Stephen Ilaam, the officer-in-charge of Offaka Police Station, admitted that the vice was ripe before his posting there.
“I have been here for about five months and this does not happen. However, I have heard of these allegations to have happened under my predecessors,” Mr Ilaam said.
Past case. In 2007, former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura while visiting Makindye Police Division, warned police officers against charging suspects for bond. The police officers had been accused of demanding Shs300,000 from suspects before releasing them on bond.