Inside the heist of UGX2.4bn from NRM treasurer, Barbara Nekesa’s bedroom- Pallaso on the run as drunkard picks a bag full of money and goes on spending spree

Barbara Nekesa Oundo

At least 12 individuals, including four police officers, have been apprehended in connection with the orchestrated theft of shs2.4 billion from the residence of Barbara Nekesa Oundo, the treasurer of the ruling NRM party.

The incident transpired on December 5 in the Kyeyitabya zone, Bukasa Parish, Makindye division. Infotrak's report, shared on Monday, January 22, 2024, discloses that 48% of Kenyans have experienced heightened stress and anxiety due to the soaring cost of living.

According to police statements, the plot was devised by Constable Michael Wango, who had been serving as a police guard at Nekesa's residence for the past year and a half. Wango, having observed that his employer often stored substantial sums of money in US dollars and Ugandan shillings at home, collaborated with four other police officers—Sgt Idro Dominic, PC Sharif Mugoya, Arinda Edgar, and Nuwagaba Rogers.

Executing the plan, Wango, Mugoya, Arinda, and a participant known as Pallaso (not the musician) carried out a meticulously planned operation. Wango, the alleged mastermind, disabled the home's alarm system, disconnected the electric fence, and adjusted security lights and CCTV cameras to avoid detection.

On the night of December 4, Mugoya, Arinda, and Pallaso entered Nekesa's compound, waited until 4:00 am, and initiated the mission. CCTV cameras in the neighborhood captured their entry, although they were unaware. To conceal their identities, they inflicted controlled injuries on Wango, seized two rifles in his possession, and proceeded to the servants' quarters, where they forced entry with the help of three maids.

Despite locating Nekesa in hiding, the assailants threatened harm until she led them to where the money was stored. The suspects fled, leaving behind some money in a bag after being momentarily exposed by a local guard's flashlight.

Subsequently, the loot was shared among the perpetrators, including monetary distributions at Nsambya police barracks. The NRM treasurer reported the theft of shs41 million belonging to her and shs2.4 billion belonging to her husband, Hajji Suleiman Lumolo.

“The shs220 million was handed to his uncle Basooma Emmanuel who travelled from Namutumba to Nsambya barracks to pick the money,” Enanga said.

He noted that shs200 million was given to Edgar Arinda whereas the boda boda rider, Josh Kalinda was given shs20 million for riding the getaway motorcycle.
Sgt Nuwagaba who chickened out of the mission after participating in its planning was given only shs8 million.

Sharif Mugoya on the other side kept shs230 million for himself.

Meanwhile, Samuel Opio Obote, a casual labourer at one of the homes nearing Nekesa’s while grazing goats, landed on an unspecified amount of money, an empty bag, and a police uniform.

“He got money and put it in a makeshift container where he was sleeping.

He started drinking and spending lavishly, prompting his boss to notice. On Checking Opio’s room, his boss realized a huge sum of money and picked some,” Enanga said.

He noted that another man identified some of the remaining money while Opio handed the remaining cash to a relative, Patrick Abinye who later took and hid him in Lugazi.

Following the arrest, only two bags of cash were recovered, and Pallaso is currently evading capture with another bag. The 12 individuals have been charged with various offenses, including aggravated robbery, receiving stolen money, and being accessories after the fact of robbery. They have been remanded to Luzira prison, and the search for Pallaso is ongoing.

The incident raises questions about the security of keeping such a large sum of money at home rather than in a bank.

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