JUSTICE | Opposition leader Kizza Besigye is free to repossess his Toyota Prado TX or what is left of it from a police station yard, two months shy of five years when it was impounded.
This comes after the State on Monday said it had lost interest in pursuing a case in which the Opposition leader and former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president was in 2014 charged with “causing malicious damage to State property.”
On January 25, 2014, Police arrested Dr Besigye at his home in Kasangati and whisked him away to an unknown place. They also impounded his Toyota Prado TX in UAK series, with then Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Ibin Senkumbi explaining that the Opposition leader had caused an accident.
“Besigye knocked a police car which was manning a police check-point, injuring police officers,” he said.
Dr Besigye’s colleagues said a the time that he was arrested as he prepared to go to the High Court where Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was waiting for a ruling on a petition challenging his impeachment by the Kampala City Council Authority councillors.
But on Monday, Police said the charges sanctioned by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) have been dropped.
“The charges have now been withdrawn by DPP but the exhibit, motor vehicle Reg. No. UAK 773F belonging to Dr Besigye is still parked at Kasangati Police Station,” Erasmus Twaruhukwa, the police legal advisor, said in the legal notice of withdrawal.
“This therefore is to direct that the vehicle should be handed to Besigye for his continued use.”
But Ronald Muhinda, Dr Besigye’s aide, said on Tuesday that there is nothing like a vehicle “for continued use” now since what is left of the Prado TX that the Police impounded is scrap.
“When it was grabbed, it was in very good shape. The order to return it is issued when it is scrap,” Muhinda said.
“I saw it when I was detained at Kasangati Police Station for two days in November 2016. It was in bad shape after grass grew inside it. In fact, I was ordered to clean it and I refused.”
It is not yet clear what Besigye’s will reacthaving been served with the notice on Tuesday. Legally, the Opposition leader who was around the time of the incident facing near-daily arrests and ‘preventive arrests,’ has the option of suing for damages since Police are supposed to keep all evidence collected in good condition.
Besigye now owns a Land Cruiser V8 in UAN series that he uses for his political mobility and related operations.