ARUA. The operation commander (OC) in charge of Bileafe sub-county police post in Arua district Mr Hannington Okecho was forced to account before his supervisors and the public during the Independence Day celebrations held at the sub-county headquarters on Wednesday over allegations of soliciting bribes from suspects.

The Bileafe sub-county chairperson Mr Geoffrey Olema alleged that the public is angered after the OC’s recent decision to release a suspected animal thief hailing from Uriama sub-county at night without proper explanation.

Olema used the opportunity to ask the regional police commander who was in attendance to intervene on grounds that the residents have lost hope in the officer.

“RPC, I am not fearing to tell you that your OC on ground here is corrupt. Every suspect in detention comes out after paying a big sum of money and the community has lost trust in him,” Mr Olema stated.

Mr Geoffrey 10 10 19Bileafe LC3 chairperson Mr Geoffrey Olema speaks during the celebrations.

As a result, Mr Christopher Barugahare, the regional police commander of West Nile said the accused police officer will remain in the sub-county until investigations against him are complete

Mr Barugahare who sensitized the people attending the Independence Day celebration on crime prevention called upon the public to report such allegations timely for immediate action.

“Don’t pay any money to a police officer, all police services like registering cases, arresting and transferring suspects to Arua and police bond are free except when there is a need for transport since the police at sub-counties have no vehicles. For a journey of shs10, 000, if anyone asks for shs200, 000, that is corruption”, Barugahare explained.

The accused police officer Mr Okecho, however, denied the allegations labeled against him.

“The case against a known dealer in cattle was filed by the LC1 chairperson of Adumini village. I even detained the suspect here for two days and later released him after finding that his movement permit was cleared by the veterinary department of Uriama sub-county”, Mr Okecho stated.

But Mr Moses Angundru, the Terego West Member of Parliament (MP) called on the RPC to investigate the allegations and give a comprehensive report to him and his electorates who are prey to police.

He noted that the animal dealer might fall into the hands of the community because theft of animals in the area is a concern after many farmers lost all their herds of cattle to thieves carrying them in vehicles.