Police in Kikuube District are investigating their own on allegations of extorting money from farmers to allow them harvest crops they planted on the land that Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom leased to Hoima Sugar Ltd.
The farmers from Kabwoya and Kyangwali sub-counties were recently barred from accessing their gardens to harvest their crop on grounds that they had encroached on part of the 22-square-mile piece of land the investor leased from the kingdom for 99 years.
However, through a Memorandum of Understanding witnessed by some district bigwigs, the investor gave the farmers a grace period of three months to let their crop mature so they can harvest it.
Notwithstanding that, during a security meeting on Thursday, the farmers reported that there were some security operatives who have been forcing them to pay money between Shs300,000 – Shs350,000 in order to be allowed to access the gardens and harvest their crops.
The residents who included Mr Ben Byamukama, Mr Ronald Mwesigwa and Mr Tadeo Byamukama among others told the meeting that any farmers who failed to raise the money were not allowed to harvest their crops.
Mr Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner, said the alleged extortion is unlawful vowing that any security operative who has been acting so will be arrested and prosecuted in courts of law on charges of extortion.
However, he said some of the claims were false.
SP Michael Kasigire, the Kikuube District Police Commander, said investigations into the accusations have already commenced saying the culprits will be brought to book.
“The security team of Kikuube will not allow this kind of criminality perpetrated by security operatives. The moment we arrest any operative extorting money from the farmers, he will serve as an example to others,” Mr Kasigire said.
The Albertine Region Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Allan Julius Hakiza, told Kazi-njema News that the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has already opened up a general inquiry file against some of the implicated police officers and some complainants have already recorded statements with detectives at Kikuube Central Police Station.
He said the allegations have been boiling on for some time prompting the security team to go on ground to ascertain the matter.
During the meeting it was established that some of the allegations were baseless.