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Army suspends Kulayigye over botched gold deal

By Charles Etukuri, Ruth Nasejje

Added 24th August 2016 08:00 PM

Col. Felix Kulayigye however says he has not yet been served with notice about the suspension

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Col. Felix Kulayigye however says he has not yet been served with notice about the suspension

The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) on Wednesday suspended Col. Felix Kulayigye from the office of the National Political Commissar.

Kulayigye who is also the army representative in Parliament was suspended because of his conduct after his niece reported to him that she had been robbed of gold that she had purchased from a Congolese businessman.

The Army Spokesperson Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda confirmed that Kulayigye had been suspended from office but refused to divulge further details on the nature of the suspension. He however said that Kulayigye would remain the army representative in Parliament.

“Hon. Col. Felix Kulayigye has been suspended from office of Chief Political Commissar pending further inquiries about his conduct in the issue of gold business,” Ankunda said.

Col. Kulayigye however said he had not yet been served with notice about the suspension but had heard about it.

“I have not yet been served with notice about my suspension but I have heard about it,” he said.

“My conscience remains clear and I will not challenge my suspension,” Kulayigye who said he was on leave added.

Sources in the army told New Vision that the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala ordered for the suspension of Kulayigye following an investigation that revealed he had used excessive force and abused his office when he raided Matrich Holdings Limited, a company which deals in minerals after the deal went bad.

Richard Kamugisha, the Managing director of Matrich Holdings Limited a Ntinda-based company, reported Kulayigye to the army leadership accusing him of raiding, kidnapping and ransacking their premises.

He was also accused of undressing the employees of the company and forcing them to carry office equipment and gold.

Investigations were conducted by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence counter-intelligence team which interviewed the owner of the company and the neighbours before handing over its report to the CDF.

In an earlier interview, Kulayigye admitted that he knew and was part of the gold deal but denied raiding Kamugisha’s office premises.

“I did contribute money when she gave me the deal but it is not true that I raided the office but instead advised my niece to report the case to police,” he said.

Kulayigye’s woes started in June this year when his niece Betty Murungi, contacted him and reported the theft of 2kg of gold she had allegedly purchased from a Congolese businessman.

Murungi and the businessman then went to Matrich Holdings and wanted the gold tested for purity. The gold was found to be genuine following the tests.

According to Kamugisha, Murungi then negotiated with the Congolese businessman and they agreed a sum of $60,000 (about Shs200m) but she didn’t have the full amount and instead paid $50,000.

She left with the businessman together with the gold to collect the balance but returned a short while later complaining that she had been robbed.

She demanded that the company give her the gold but Kamugisha denied knowing the businessman.

It was then that she called Kulayigye who Kamugisha says came in with the army and police officers and raided the offices arresting three workers.

Kamugisha and his staff were later arrested but released after security minister Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde intervened in the matter.

Police had earlier refused to release him together with his staff when Buganda Magistrates court issued an order they be released.

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