A UPDF soldier attached to the Special Forces Command has been arrested for attempting to steal money meant for journalists’ facilitation at Namboole stadium last evening.
The complaint was brought forth by a Capital FM journalist, Moses Kidandi.
“NRM elections-SFC/PPU officer Asimwe Dan steals Shs 13 million meant for the media/threatens journalists,” Kidandi said in a tweet.
Kidandi tagged the Youth minister, Evelyn Anite, the presidential press secretary, Lindah Nabusayi and the SFC commander, also First Son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
When we talked to Lindah, she said State House personnel were not in charge of the event being a ruling party NRM function.
We managed to get Don Wanyama, President Yoweri Museveni’s Special Media Assistant.
“There was a meeting at Namboole and that matter was resolved,” Don told us after taking him through the complaints raised by angry journalists.
Inside information reveals that Anite released to Don about Shs24m for media facilitation.
The SFC officer was given Shs13m which he tried to pocket without giving journalists their share.
According to the bitter scribes, while some were paid a cool Shs500,000 facilitation, others got a miserable Shs50,000 with the some leaving empty-handed.
“That is not true,” Don interjected.
He said someone was trying to blow the matter out of proportion.
“All journalists got their facilitation,” he said.
SFC speaks on the saga
When asked about an SFC soldier who journalists accuse of stealing their money, Don insisted the matter had been resolved.
“That SFC soldier hadn’t paid some of them [journalists] but we cleared that.”
We talked to Maj Chris Magezi, the spokesperson of the elite Special Forces, who confirmed the development.
He said the soldier in question, Dan Asiimwe, is at the rank of corporal.
“He works in my office. We are the ones who manage and coordinate press at presidential functions,” Maj Magezi told Insider.
He said as the presidential guard, their job stops at ensuring security at such events.
“Our work is to ensure journalists get access to the event and perform their work safely.”
“We don’t deal with money in anyway including myself. We are not financial officers, we don’t hold money,” Maj Magezi explained.
He acknowledged that Corporal Asiimwe had gone out of his way to do what he is prohibited from doing.
“This officer involved himself in an activity that is completely out of the scope of his duties,” Maj Magezi continued.
The soldier said he was not aware of how much money Cpl Asiimwe tried to steal but had got complaints from journalists on the matter.
NRM secretariat to blame
Maj Magezi blamed the NRM Secretariat for involving the soldier in money issues.
“I am the head of the unit but I was not consulted on this matter. How did he get involved in handling money?” Maj Magezi wondered.
He said the function was an NRM event and should have been handled by the secretariat.
“The press team at the secretariat should have handled everything to do with media facilitation without involving SFC soldiers.”
He said the original mistake was with NRM.
“Asiimwe is a junior soldier and as the head of the unit, I think what he did was an act of gross indiscipline.”
Maj Magezi confirmed to Insider that Cpl Asiimwe is currently behind bars.
“I have ordered for his arrest. He is currently being detained here at our headquarters in Entebbe.”
He said the soldier will face the consequences.
Intelligence is currently investigating the matter and afterwards, will determine what to charge Asiimwe with.