14 April 2005

Uganda: KAP, VCCU Probed Over Timber Deals

Kampala — THE Police are investigating purported Kalangala Action Plan (KAP) and Violent Crime Crack Unit (VCCU) members implicated in terrorising timber dealers, state minister for environment Lt. Gen. Jeje Odong has said.

Odong was responding to queries on harassment of legitimate timber dealers by alleged National Forestry Authority (NFA) at Parliament.

He said the NFA timber monitoring unit had identified men claiming to be KAP and VCCU officials.

Kawempe South MP Sebuliba Mutumba raised the issues of harassment and random arrests of people legitimately engaged in carpentry trade and timber. He said their their merchandise were arbitrary confiscated or used as blackmail to solicit bribes from them.

Odong named Sam Mwanje, Mukwaya, Buwembo and Sekalala often travelling in motor vehicle registration number UAD 390T among the suspects.

He denied that the ministry targeted carpentry and timber traders while being more lenient to charcoal and firewood traders.

He said illegal forest produce offences were treated in the same way.

Odong said the ministry did not employ the military Police, VCCU, LDU or UPDF personnel to harass and extort money from people.

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