7 August 2018

Uganda: IGP Reshuffles 23 Traffic Chiefs

The Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, yesterday reshuffled 23 Kampala Metropolitan Policing (KMP) area and regional traffic commanders over extortion claims.

The reshuffle comes three days after Mr Ochola reportedly instructed traffic police director Steven Kasiima to halt countrywide operations against errant boda boda riders and taxi drivers after the two entities lodged more than 500 extortion complaints.

The complainants reportedly filed the disapprovals at police's Professional Standards Unit (PSU).

Posted upcountry

Police transferred the officers to upcountry stations.

The affected officers include Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Israel Wambesyo, the deputy KMP traffic commander, who has been moved to Ssezibwa as Regional Traffic Officer (RTO) and replaced with the Superintendent of Police (SP) from the same region.

In a letter signed by police director in-charge of human resource management, Assistant IGP Moses Balimwoyo, KMP traffic operations commander, ASP Julius Luyima, was appointed officer-in-charge (OC) of traffic in Masindi District.

ASP Tom Mpabaisi has been transferred from Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) to Sipi as RTO, ASP Sam Mugabi from Kawempe to Albertine as RTO, ASP Dickson Odongo from Kira Division to Ntungamo as OC, ASP Elia Kamugisha from Old Kampala to Bugiri as OC, ASP Caroline Angeyo from Wandegeya to Mpigi as OC and ASP Reinhold Rwakarenzi from Kabalagala to Mubende.

Mr Ochola has reportedly instructed Dr Kasiima to investigate 113 police officers allegedly implicated in more than 500 extortion complaints filed at police's PSU by boda boda riders and taxi drivers.

Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima confirmed during a press briefing that the probe was underway but declined to give figures on number of officers being probed and cases filed against them.

"AIGP Dr Steven Kasiima [director traffic] has halted the massive countrywide traffic operations because of very many complaints and there is a possibility that some officers have abused these operations," Mr Kayima said yesterday.

Sources said 88 of the 113 officers being probed are from KMP area that covers Kampala City, Wakiso and Mukono districts.

Also 337 of 500 cases have been filed by boda boda riders. The cyclists accuse traffic officers of extorting between Shs50,000 and Shs150,000 from them whenever their motorcycles are impounded on unfounded traffic offences.

"Boda boda riders accused several traffic officers, including commanders, of extorting money from them. They claim the officers impound their motorcycles and in most cases arrest them even when they present the requirements," a source said.

Mr Kayima said some officers seem to have been acting "bigger" than the law, a reason police leadership has taken a decision to halt the crackdown on taxis and motorcycles until the piled complaints have been resolved.

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