Arrested Journalists Were Investigating Sale of Gov't Drugs -Nbs
Three journalists attached to BBC currently in custody at the Central Police Station Kampala for illegal possession of government drugs were investigating the sale of the drugs, according to a statement from Next Media Services.
They are Godfrey Badebye, Mohamed Kissame, Rashid Kaweesa and their driver, Shafiq Kisame. The Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango told journalists on Thursday afternoon that Godfrey Badyebe, Kassim Muhammad and Shafiq Kisame were picked up from Makindye on Wednesday night where they were meeting unidentified medical officer to sell them government drugs.
He claimed that during interrogations in a safe house, the trio told investigators that they were recording a documentary. They also reportedly disclosed that they had bought some drugs and stored them at the residence of Solomon Sserwanjja, a new anchor at NBS TV.
According to Onyango, a team of operatives from Police and the Internal Security Organisation-ISO cordoned off Sserwanjja's home until this morning when they conducted a search and recovered 14 boxes of government drugs. The officers picked up Sserwanjja's wife, Vivian Nakaliika Sserwanja who was at home during the search.
Nakaliika is also the Communication Officer in Charge of Health Promotion and Behavioral Change in the Health Ministry. Solomon Sserwanjja is still at large since he wasn't at home during the raid.
The suspects have been slapped with tentative charges of illegal possession of classified drugs. Now, in a statement issued this afternoon, Next Media Services, which owns NBS TV, says it commissioned an investigation into the illegal sale of Government drugs in partnership with the British Broadcasting Corporation-BBC.
The statement says the main purpose of the investigation was to cast a spotlight on how alleged corruption is aiding the sale of Government drugs. "The arrest of the journalists comes at the conclusion stage of the three week's investigation," reads the statement.
Adding that, ""NBS Television together with BBC are currently working with relevant authorities to secure the release of those arrested." Journalists have condemned the arrests, saying they are aimed at curtailing media freedom.
A statement by the Foreign Correspondents Association in Uganda-FCAU, says FCAU holds Uganda Police and Internal Security Organisation (ISO) responsible for the journalist's safety. It also calls for the immediate release.