News and Views
Tycoon Kirumira collapses under police questioning
Kampala tycoon Godfrey Kirumira yesterday collapsed during interrogation at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Directorate, in Kibuli, Kampala.
Kirumira, Managing Director of Bargary Trading Company, was being questioned in relation to Shs 190m that reportedly went into his account in Bank of Baroda inexplicably.
Police said the money was meant for development projects in Kiruhura district; it was, however, unused and should have been returned to the Consolidated Fund.
“Kirumira diverted this money, which was unused in development projects for the last financial year in Kiruhura district, onto his account and he started withdrawing it in installments of Shs 125m, Shs 60m and Shs 5m,” said CID boss Grace Akullo.
“Kirumira collapsed while recording a statement at CID and didn’t complete signing it,” Akullo explained.
After the businessman collapsed, he was handed over to his lawyers and doctors and taken to a clinic while under police guard. Akullo said Kirumira had earlier claimed that the funds were deposited on his account by Fred Kirenga, his employee in Bargary Trading Company, but by the time police arrested Kirenga, Kirumira had already collapsed.
Police had earlier on Wednesday arrested Bargary manager Fred Kayiira as he reportedly withdrew the last installment of Shs 5m. Akullo said there had been ongoing investigations by a team from the Special Investigations Unit and Economic Crimes Desk to track these funds.
Police are still investigating how exactly this money landed onto Kirumira’s account in Bank of Baroda and how it was withdrawn in such large amounts. Police sources told us that Kirumira arrived at CID offices before 8am.
He was speaking on phone as he went direct to Akullo’s office. News that he had collapsed broke around 11am and the police surgeon, Commissioner Moses Byaruhanga, was called in to ascertain his condition.
A few minutes later, Kirumira’s personal physicians came in with an ambulance and started attending to him. They later brought his vehicle that parked at the entrance to Akullo’s office, before driving him away.
Speaking to The Observer yesterday evening, Kirumira said he could not comment as the matter was still under investigation. But he said it was one of his boys that deposited the money on the company accounts.
Kirumira, who said he had since been discharged from hospital, promised to speak to the press and clear his name once the investigations are complete. Kirumira’s Bargary Company deals in fuel. The businessman has interests in several sectors, including real estate, imports, general merchandise and private security.