Uganda Police spokesperson AIGP Asan Kasingye has flatly denied allegations that State Minister for labor, employment and industry Hon. Herbert Kabafunzaki was arrested in a bid to cover up the sexual harassment allegations against the Aya proprietor, Hamid Mohammed as claimed.
Behind the scenes, the Police stood by its officers who arrested the junior minister as the Hamid faced a series of allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behavior against his former employee, Ms Jamila Opondo, 31.
Hamid is the boss at Aya Group, the proprietors of the Hilton Hotel in Kampala. One of his former employees alleges that he sexually harassed and molested her before she was summarily sacked last year, prompting her to take up the matter with the police.
Days after the story of this accusation was published by theugandan.com.ug, police on Saturday arrested and detained three people including a State Minister, for allegedly receiving a Shs30 million bribe from the businessman.
AIGP Kasingye while addressing media at the Uganda Police weekly conference said, “I’m not aware of other cases of sexual harassment against the AYA brothers.
“I know some women don’t speak up and this may be public knowledge but they need to report so we can open cases.”
“It is not true that Kabafunzaki’s arrest is meant to sweep under the carpet allegations of sexual harassment against Hamid.”
AISP later called the Kampala Metropolitan Area Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima who acknowledged the fact that Ms Opondi had approached Police over the same matter on different occasions.
Kayima said, “The files are at CPS and Old Kampala where Aya is accused of assault and also sexual harassment. In fact Muhammad Aya is out on police bond in relation to one of those files.”
Hamid Mohammed was recently dragged to the Kampala City Capital Authority Labour office and Old Kampala Police station by Ms Jamila Opondo, 31, a former logistics officer at the tycoon’s Aya Group of Companies.
Ms Opondo, who stays in Matugga, Wakiso District told authorities that Sudanese-born businessman folded her private parts without her consent and forced her to do the same to him.
She claims that Hamid started assaulting her in 2015, two weeks after he had offered her a job but she feared reporting him to the Police then because he was paying her well – Shs1.75 million monthly.
And the sexual harassment climaxed on 20 March 2017. Ms Opondo claims Hamid called her to his office, locked the door and started pressing her breasts so tight while his other hand was in her private parts. “Hamid undressed me and forced me to suck his penis and tears from my eyes. This had gone on for awhile,” she told authorities at Old Kampala Police station after failing to get help at Central Police Station where the case of assault under SD REF 58/22/3/17 was registered.
Hamid reported fired Ms Opondo on 23rd of March 2017 when she refused to do the usual sexual activity. “Out of anger, he stormed my small office, beat me up and said obscene words towards me in front of other employees before terminating my contract,” a teary Opondo narrated.
The beautiful logistics officer claims AYA boss Hamid forced her to give him blow jobs on different occasions. Photo/Facebook
Hamid, 40, has been working in Uganda for the last close to 31 years, is also the chairman of AYA group, a multi-billion shilling conglomerate comprising seven different companies – from grain milling, bakeries, transport, investment to biscuit manufacturing among others. He was featured in the prestigious Forbes Africa issue of February 2015.
Police at CPS has failed to arrest Hamid over the sexual harassment accusations while Old Kampala cops told Ms Opondo to be patient as they make inquiries into the matter.
Hamid denied the sexual harassment allegations.
“As a public figure, people can try to talk to get money from us and blackmailing us which is not right especially where we have employed more than 2,000 people in the last nine years,” Hamid said.