The Uganda police have been faulted for not collecting an amount of Shs52bn in express penalty fees over the years.
In accordance with Section 179 of the Traffic and Road Safety Act, the police are empowered to enforce the Express Penalty Scheme (EPS).
However, according to the Auditor Generals’ report, the Police Force has failed in its duty to meet their obligations as mandated.
Among the aims of objects of the scheme according to the Traffic and Road Safety Act is to have minor offences handled expressly to reduce the work load at Police Stations.
The police are also expected to reduce congestion at the police station and courts and also reduce inconveniences to motorists who commit offences which are considered minor in the Traffic and Road Safety Act.
It is further aimed at generating non-tax revenue for the Uganda police and government in general.
However, according to the Auditor General’s report, it has been noted that enforcement under this scheme is inadequate.
“Tickets are currently issued manually to traffic offenders throughout the country and there is lack of computers with internet connectivity in almost all stations outside Kampala and issuing tickets to offenders manually makes it difficult for traffic officers to reconcile with URA EPS defaulters,” notes the report.
The report further reveals that because of the of the challenges noted above, revenue has not been collected as anticipated.
“Over the past 10 years, revenue from penalties to a tune of Shs52, 685, 427,000 has remained outstanding and many offenders have continued to default after realizing that Police could not follow up on unpaid tickets, therefore the outstanding amount is likely to increase,” reads the report.
Meanwhile it has been observed that there exist unsettled court awards and compensations amounting to Shs676, 818,974,843.
“The outstanding amount in court awards and compensations had been accumulating over the last five financial years from Shs54, 009,997,832 in financial year 2011/2012 to Shs676, 818,974,873 in financial year 2016/17.” says the report.
It is also revealed that because of the unpaid court awards, interest amounting to Shs168, 005,612,514, has accumulated.
In certain cases, the interest had more than doubled the principle amounts.
“I advised the Accounting Officer to liaise with relevant authorities for improved funding with a view of minimizing penalties and the related charges,” the AG said.
He further directed that the Accounting Officer should also categorize and communicate to MDAs their contingent liabilities to enable them disclose in their respective financial statements.
He has consequently advised the Police Force to strategize in order ensure effective implementation of the EPS