Corrupt Police Officer Arrested for Violating the Rights of a Widow

Lucy Aciro is a 26-year-old widow, living with her two children aged four and eight in Oyutu ward in Pader Town Council. For some time, she faced intimidation from a female police officer, who worked at Pader Central Station, over a case in which Lucy was accused by her co-wife of failure to pay UGX 17,500 for a cloth popularly referred to as “kitenge”, which she had been given to sell.

This was followed by a dramatic and violent arrest of Lucy from her business premises, in the trading centre by the police. During the arrest UGX 700,000 which Lucy had borrowed from Allied Village Loans and Savings Association (VSLA), was allegedly taken from her by a female police officer who did not declare it. Lucy’s groceries were also looted during the scuffle.

When Lucy’s father was informed, he went to see her in detention. He was referred to the police officer in-charge, who demanded that he paid for the cloth that was given to Lucy at UGX 20,000, and another police officer’s clothing that got torn during the arrest. She also demanded an additional UGX 200,000 in the guise that Lucy had resisted arrest and inflicted bodily harm on the police officer. Lucy’s father obliged and paid the police officer to secure his daughter’s release. After Lucy’s release, the police officer demanded a further UGX 100,000 from Lucy’s father, as a bribe to ensure the case was dropped and the file destroyed.

Placed in an impossible position, Lucy and her father reported the matter to Human Rights Focus (HURIFO), a DGF partner that notified the Police Professional Standard Unit (PSU) at the Gulu Regional Office. PSU arranged with Lucy and her father that they would pretend to pay the bribe to the police officer for evidence. The police officer was arrested as she collected the UGX 100,000 from Lucy at a hotel in Pader Trading Center. She was taken to the PSU Regional Office. Although the police officer was later released on bond, investigations into this case have since been completed, the file has been sanctioned and the police officer is due to appear at the Anti-Corruption Court to answer corruption charges. She was also directed by the PSU to pay back all the money she falsely received from Lucy and her father.