NBS Says Arrested BBC Journalists Were on Joint Investigation

Media Plaza in Kamwokya, which houses NBS Television.

Following a raid on the home of investigative journalist, Solomon Sserwanja by Police on Wednesday night, which saw his wife and four others arrested, NBS Television where Solomon works has spoken out on the matter.

Other arrested people include Kassim Muhammad, Rashid Kaweesa, Godfrey Badebye all journalists with the BBC and their driver, Shafiq.

Police says the raid was as a result of a tip to them, that a group of people were illegally buying government drugs, and their investigations landed them to Sserwanja’s home, where they indeed according to the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, SP Patrick Onyango, found boxes of classified government drugs.

Now, NBS has in a statement said that they, three weeks ago in collaboration with the BBC, launched an investigation into the alleged sale of Uganda Government drugs on the black market.

“The main purpose of the investigation was to cast a spotlight on how alleged corruption is aiding the sale of government drugs,” reads a statement from the Kamwokya based Television station.

The statement further indicates that “the arrests come at the conclusion stage of the three-week investigations.”

But, when asked whether Police had an idea on whether the people they arrested were indeed journalists, who could have probably been on their duty, Onyango said, even then, they ought to have informed the police.

“Yes, because we have recorded a statement from them and they have told us that we are journalists and the driver, and so, we are aware of their profession,” he said.

“Were they on duty? “We cannot determine because we are not their editors, but if you are investigating a case of that nature, we as government, are also interested because we are partners with you,” he added.

Onyango says the journalists or their station would have approached police and informed them about their investigations so that they get a backup.

“But if you have not informed us that we have this project we are working on and you go ahead with dealing in something we are fighting, no, we have to arrest you and investigate the matter to its logical conclusion,” Onyango explained.

According to NBS Television, the whereabouts of Solomon Sserwanja remain unknown. The media house, however, says they are currently working with relevant authorities to secure release of the arrested people.

NBS is popular for one of its investigative programmes dubbed ‘Debrief’ which airs every Sunday, in which they analyse and scrutinise different information on several aspects including corruption and embezzlement of government funds.

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