The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) has arrested two suspects in the robbery of over shs600 million from a bullion van carrying Stanbic bank cash.
Last month, a bullion van belonging to Group Four Securicor (G4S) that had collected money from various Stanbic bank headquarters Kayunga and Mukono destined to Kampala was robbed of Shs 600 million but in the operation to thwart the attack, two robbers were killed by security.
On Monday, Alfred Wabuyi,53 and David Bukenya,49 who were arrested in connection with the robbery were paraded before the media at ISO headquarters in Nakasero.
How mission was planned
Wabuyi, who works as a mechanic narrated that he was approached by a friend identified as Badru with a mission in which he wanted him (Wabuyi) drive for him a certain car belonging to Bright Turyatunga who was known to both of them.
“We held several meetings at Hi Table bar and restaurant (along Kampala road) but in all, they never revealed to me what exactly the mission was about,”Wabuyi, a father of 6 said.
He said he had last seen Turyatunga, who was then working in the Special Forces Command (SFC) in 2012 and their meeting before last month’s mission was the first one since then.
Wabuyi narrated that on the fateful day, at around lunch time, he drove a Toyota Mark II followed by a Toyota Premio being driven by Turyatunga destined for Mukono where they stayed up to evening waiting for the bullion van.
The other vehicle also had a brother to the driver of the bullion van.
“The driver of bullion van was in contact with his brother who was with us. At around 5pm, the bullion van arrived in Mukono,”Wabuyi narrated.
“The brother to its driver then brought some drinks and sticks of pork that he handed to him (bullion van driver).”
He said the mission was that the driver of the bullion van was to lace the pork sticks with chloroform and this had been practiced for a long time.
The journey to Kampala now started as the two vehicles followed the bullion van in a distance and at some time, the Mark II occupied by Wabuyi was asked to overtake it.
He said the bullion van made a number of stopovers between Mukono and Namboole and at one time he was asked to buy bags to be used for stacking the money.
Survives by whisker
As the ‘convoy’ neared Banda, the Mark II occupied by Wabuyi was asked to drive ahead and use the road via Nabisunsa to Kyambogo University.
The plan had been that after draining the bullion van they would drive and dump it into the university, then the robbers would change cars.
Wabuyi’s vehicle would pick the occupants of the Premio including Turyatunga, the master planner.
However, before entering the university, ISO operatives ambushed them and shot dead the occupants of the Toyota Premio including Turyatunga and another person.
Wabuyi says that he entered the university but delayed at the gate before being allowed to exit but on moving out, he realized the bullion van had parked in the middle of the road with two dead bodies near a Toyota Premio.
“I saw soldiers near the vehicle and other plain clothed security operatives wielding guns. I realized something was amiss. Badru with whom I was in the Mark II tried calling Bright (Turyatunga) for the next course of action but he was not responding to our calls. We drove off to the city centre where I was dropped and I returned home,”Wabuyi narrated.
He added that he read about it in the news that two people had been killed in the operation.
Another suspect, David Bukenya, who sells shoes denied having any role in the robbery but according to ISO he was part .
The driver of the bullion van is still on the run and it is suspected that he took with him the shs600 million that was found missing.
ISO speaks out
International Security Organisation operatives said Turyatunga, a former SFC soldier who had just served a sentence at Luzira was incorporated as their operative but little did they know he was still a robber.
The mission to rob the bullion van was planned by him and he confided into one of their informers who was close to him (Turyatunga) so he could join him.
“The informer told us about the mission and we tagged along without their knowledge,” the operative who preferred to remain anonymous told journalists.
ISO Director General, Col.Kaka Bagyenda said the operation to thwart the robbery (though some money was taken) was one of the many they are undertaking to break the backs of criminal gangs.
“We know a lot has been going on around the country for a long time but we are slowly and quietly working to break their networks. This is well planned criminality but we are ready to grab all people behind it by the neck,” Kaka said.
He however noted that the suspects paraded are only small fish but they are working to arrest the main architects of the robbery and many other crimes.
“Until I catch a manager of a bank or a director of a security company, I will not be satisfied with my job. This robbery is a big story which does not end with the two. These are small players but we want the bigger ones.”
According to security, a number of questions remain an unanswered in regards the robbery.
ISO wonders why the G4S which is always under 24 hours surveillance managed to make over five stopovers without officials at the company headquarters noticing.
Security is also puzzled by the fact that robbers got to know that the security company was getting money from upcountry Stanbic bank branches to its headquarters in Kampala yet it is always the reverse as money is moved from Kampala to upcountry branches.
They also say that the locking system for the bullion van is automatically set by the security company and can only be opened at their destination but on fateful day it was not the case as robbers managed to access the money.