20 March 2019

Uganda: UN Weapons Saga - Contractor Arrested

Kampala — Police detectives yesterday stormed the Kabalagala branch of Equity Bank and arrested Mr Timothy Kyaligonza as he attempted to withdraw money for transporters of United Nations weapons stuck at the Uganda-Tanzania border.

Mr Kyaligonza who was, by press time, detained at Kabalagala Police Station is locked in an $80,000 (Shs296m) dispute with a one Fred Keitongo.

The arrest is yet another twist in a transportation scandal involving a multibillion consignment of UN Weapons and cargo from DR Congo.

The multibillion consignment includes containers of weapons and other accessories, containers of medical equipment, wheeled armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and Land Rovers with the UN insignia according to manifests seen by this newspaper.

No money released

On Monday, officials at Equity Bank Headquarters on Church House declined to release more than $45,000 (Shs166m) to Mr Kyaligonza's KTG and the transporters he contracted and instead asked them to first resolve an issue with their Kabalagala branch.

Shortly before midday, Mr Kyaligonza and others were summoned to the office of "Linda", the manager at the Kabalagala branch.

Three Police officers in uniform and two others in plainclothes handcuffed him and took him to Kabalagala were he was detained.

ASP George Omony, the OC station confirmed the arrest. We were informed twenty more trucks of similar cargo have since been added on the original batch but these, we understand, are being managed by another French contractor.

"The Tanzanian military are purposely at the border to escort the trucks to Dar es Salaam and if it leaves without our trucks, more costs will be needed. It is now four months, we need to do other work," one of the transporters told Daily Monitor outside Kabalagala police.

Genesis

On February 4, this newspaper broke the story of the UN weapons and other cargo, including vehicles stuck at the Uganda-DRC border. The impasse was over failure by companies subcontracted by Daher Technologies, a French industrial conglomerate, to pay transporters.

The UN office in Kampala and the Foreign Affairs Ministry intervened and a solution was found. Sources told Daily Monitor that Daher Technologies decided to directly deal with the Ugandan contractor, KTG of Uganda to pay the transporters. The cargo was then moved from the border with DRC to Kampala and then to Mutukula border where it is currently stuck.

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