Despite Allen Kagina, the Executive Director of Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), vowing to weed out corruption and the theft of fuel from the roads agency, the vices remain a big challenge to her leadership.
And, in what appears to be an inside job, just over the weekend between 3, 500 and 4,000 litres of fuel worth Shs80 million was stolen from SBI contractors by a team of well-networked men who were however, intercepted and arrested by police after a chase. Interestingly, even after intercepting the fuel, it was reportedly sold.
Sources at the SBI camp on Mukono-Kayunga road, informed EagleOnline that a fuel dealer based in Jinja was contacted by some of the officials who oversee the construction site, to transport the stolen fuel from the Kayunga quarry in a Kenyan fuel tanker Reg. No. KBL 419K.
It is said that when the driver of the tanker arrived at the quarry, he was asked by the security guards for clearance and the destination the fuel was headed to.
The source further said that instead of providing the clearance chit, the driver called a one Osbert Abimanya, the project engineer/planner, who allegedly ordered that the driver be allowed in to draw the fuel under the pretext that he was taking it to the SBI offices at Kibinga.
However, having earlier detected inconsistences in the narration by the fuel tanker driver, officials at the quarry decided to follow him and see whether fuel was destined for the said place.
Indeed, the officials were placated as along the way, the driver changed route, a development that led to his being intercepted near Bujagali and ordered to drive to a police post in Njeru where a case, SD/41/2017, was recorded by a one Sgt. Mutanga.
Meanwhile, according to the source, on interrogation, the driver revealed that he was under instructions by a fuel dealer in Jinja to collect the fuel from Kayunga after getting in touch with Mr. Abimanya.
In the ensuing spell Abimanya was called in to make a statement but as this was happening, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Kayunga and the District Police Commander intervened and ordered for the release of the fuel tanker, the source said.
Further, the source said, after the fuel tanker was released, it continued to Jinja and the fuel was delivered to the dealer.
Contacted, Njeru District Police Commander Christopher Katumba confirmed the incident to EagleOnline but said he only released the tanker because Njeru police station could not guarantee the security of the fuel.
“We could not keep the fuel here because of its nature, we released the truck but the file is here,” Mr Katumba said.
But when contacted by EagleOnline for a comment Mr. Abimanya gave a contradictory statement, saying that the driver had just lost direction.
But pressed as to why a case had been reported to Njeru police, he said it was his colleagues ‘fighting’ him and then switched off his phone.
“There was no stealing of fuel; the intercepted fuel was released because the driver had lost direction. What I can assure you is that those are mere allegations by colleagues,” Mr Abimanya told EagleOnline.