The Uganda Police Force Director of Traffic and Road Safety, Steven Kasiima, has said the soon to be released annual crime and traffic road safety report, 2014, indicates that 453 government vehicles were involved in accidents in the year 2014.

This therefore means there has been zero difference with the year 2013 which also had the same number as indicated in that year’s Police report.

Speaking about the Uganda Police Force’s experiences, challenges and lessons in the management of government Vehicles, Kasiima who was the guest of honor at a public dialogue organized by the Uganda Debt Network (UDN), on reversing the tide against misuse of government vehicles, said, there has been a significant decrease in accidents caused by the Police and Prisons.

Kasiima held that in the prisons for instance, the number shot down to 5 in 2014 from 15 in 2013.

According to Kasiima, public officials continue to misuse public vehicles despite the provisions in The Uganda Public Service Standing Orders 2010, General Rule No.3 which provides that public officers shall safeguard public property entrusted to them ensuring no damage.

Kasiima listed the forms of misuse of public property as violating traffic regulations by using sirens to beat jam, using government vehicles for private errands, using vehicles after official hours, unauthorized drivers and poor maintenance.

He also said grounding of government vehicles and stealing fuel and lubricants are some of the misuses that continue to exist in government institutions.

According to the UDN executive Director, Patrick Tumwebaze, government should popularize the standing orders and institute more measures that hold officials allocated with public vehicles personally responsible and liable.

Tumwebaze also suggested that all government ministries, agencies and departments should install vehicle tracking systems for easy accountability of vehicle movements and fuel usage.

According to the Auditor General’s report by financial year 2009/2010, government expenditure on vehicle maintenance alone exceeded 100 billion, the same applied for the cost of fuel.

In 2006/2007 however, vehicle maintenance took shs 68 billion while fuel was Shs24 billion bringing the total expenditure to Shs92 billion.

However, according to Kasiima, in a bid to promote responsibility over government vehicles, police has established rules and procedure amongst which include submitting weekly reports and making police officers personally repair vehicles that are spoilt under them.

Kasiima said 4 District Police Commanders (DPCs) where directed to repair police vehicles and they did, 17 police drivers were criminally charged of which some are still in Luzira, and seven DPCs faced disciplinary action of which others are still on suspension.

“We are training and re-training police drivers, screening and re-screening them to ensure that we have the best drivers,” Kasiima said.

gamme@eagle.co.ug