Three Luweero Town Officials Implicated in Extortion Racket

1843 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Residents also accused the vendors of blocking feeder roads and contributing to the conflicts in the business community. However, the vendors rejected their pending evictions and petitioned the district security committee chaired by Resident District Commissioner Paul Lubowa implicating the officials for soliciting between 50,000 and 500,000 shillings to allow them operate in the area.

The Luweero District Security Committee has ordered police to investigate three town council officials implicated for pocketing bribes to authorize the illegal construction of kiosks along Kampala-Gulu Highway. The officials are David Bagambe, the chief law enforcement officer Luweero Town Council, his aide Wycliffe Walugembe and town agent Michael Okello. Trouble for the trio stems from a notice issued by Muluuta Mugagga, the Luweero town clerk on 23rd August 2013 ordering all vendors to vacate the roadsides not later than September this year or else risk forceful eviction.

Mugagga accused the vendors of operating illegally saying their operations had affected planning and contributed to poor sanitation. Residents also accused the vendors of blocking feeder roads and contributing to the conflicts in the business community. However, the vendors rejected their pending evictions and petitioned the district security committee chaired by Resident District Commissioner Paul Lubowa implicating the officials for soliciting between 50,000 and 500,000 shillings to allow them operate in the area.
 
Through Charles Ssebyala, the Luweero LC 3 Chairperson, more than 50 vendors confessed to have paid money to the officials to be allowed operate on roadsides because they couldn't afford rent to operate in shops. Ssebyala claims that the officials assured the vendors that nobody would evict them but they were shocked when they were ordered to move.  He says the officials didn’t remit even a cent to the town council treasury from vendors.

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Augustine Ssekidde, the Vice chairperson Luweero Roadside Vendors Group  argues that they are poor to rent rooms for shops saying they resorted to paying bribes to operate in kiosks. The affected vendors deal in the sale of roasted meat, food, and general merchandise and motorcycle spare parts among others. He says they want the RDC and Luweero Town council to suspend their eviction to allow them recoupe the money they paid to the officials.

The Committee resolved to suspend the eviction exercise to give them ample to relocate to shops or markets but ordered Luweero District Police Commander Godfrey Ninsiima to investigate the implicated officials. Paul Lubowa, the Luweero Resident District Commissioner says the cases of vendors confessing to giving out bribes to operate on roadsides were overwhelming. He says they agreed with the town council leadership that police investigate the officials and charge them with extortion

He says the vendors were also given up to December 2013 to operate on the roadside as they find an alternative place to relocate their business.. Godfrey Ninsiima, the Luweero District Police Commander has confirmed receiving instructions to investigate the officials. Efforts by our reporter to talk to David Bagambe, the chief Luweero Enforcement Officer or his co accused were not successful as they couldn’t pick nor return his calls. Bagambe was recently quoted denying the allegations.
 
 

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.