In November, at least 200 traffic police officials were arrested on suspicion of soliciting and taking bribes from motorists.
According to Dr Steven Kasiima, the director of Traffic and Road Safety, many corrupt traffic officials have been re-assigned to other departments as investigations into their conduct go on. The crackdown on corrupt traffic officials, according to police, was triggered by a public outcry.
“They [arrested officials] are also undergoing police disciplinary action on charges of corruption and soliciting bribes,” Kasiima said.
Kasiima told The Observer on December 6 that the errant officials were arrested by the Alert Fraud squad set up to rid the department of corruption.
“We are using all stakeholders including crime preventers to observe corrupt police officers. This [last] week, we arrested nine police officers countrywide who were receiving bribes and they are going to be reverted from traffic on Monday [December 8],” Kasiima said.
He said the officers were caught red-handed extorting money from motorists.
“Some traffic officers have been soliciting bribes in form of charcoal, food and other goods from businessmen transporting goods on highways. Others have been receiving bribes in form of airtime, mobile money but we shall get all their tricks and arrest them,” Kasiima said.
“We shall also follow the other actions they use to get bribes and arrest them,” Kasiima said.
Kasiima said most of those who were arrested were from the city centre, Jinja road, Kawempe, Matugga, Wandegeya, Tororo, Mbarara, Kasangati, Kabarole and Bukomero. Meanwhile, two drivers were last week arrested in Mbarara for allegedly trying to bribe traffic police officers.
The Mbarara officer in charge of traffic, Jackline Chilemo, identified the suspects as Darius Byabashaija and Luka Bwambale. Byabashaija allegedly tried to bribe Chilemo with Shs 2,000, while Bwambale tried to give Shs 5,000 to one Corporal Byaruhanga. The two were arrested during an operation to crack down poor road users along Mbarara-Kabale and Mbarara-Bushenyi roads.
Byabashaija was allegedly carrying excess passengers. Bwambale was stopped for driving a car, Reg. UAU 781J, with a broken wind glass. Byabashaija allegedly said that he tried to bribe Chilemo because he had been doing it to other officers without a problem.
Chilemo, recently posted to Mbarara, told journalists that her biggest problem in western Uganda was bribes. She wondered how a high-ranking officer could accept a bribe of Shs 2,000.
“I will deal with any person who takes and gives bribes because they are the ones who put innocent passengers at risk of death,” Chilemo said.
Police said Byabashaija and Bwambale would soon be produced in court.
Source : The Observer