The Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola has with immediate effect suspended all traffic police operations against boda bodas in Kampala metropolitan area, SpyReports has learnt.
The information obtained from the office of the IGP indicates that Ochola halted all operation in a message sent to the Director of Traffic and road safety Dr Stephen Kasiima yesterday Thursday evening.
Sources added that Ochola suspended crack down after being informed that some traffic officers had turned it into their daily source of income through arresting riders and getting money from them in order to be set free.
“IGP received some complaints from several members of the public and from boda boda industry that some traffic officers and other people connected to officers have accumulated a lot of wealth from these operations,” says a source.
It is reported that Ochola has in possession a list of all traffic officers from KMP who have extorted millions of shilling through these operations.
“Some officers have built houses while others bought expensive cars in not later than five months. We want those officers to be investigated where they got the money,” a petition to IGP reads in part.
Sources added that people informed the IGP that most extortion is conducted at Central Police Station (CPS) Kampala and Katwe Police Station where most suspects are detained.
“IGP i want to inform you that ASP Luyima Julius who heads traffic at CPS Kampala arrests more than 200 boda boda riders daily and not more than 40 are taken to courts of law,” another person was quoted as telling IGP Ochola.
Sources added that ASP Luyima allegedly formed his squad which extorts money from riders before their motor cycles are released.
“After Luyima brings suspects from the field, his team camps in room 35 where the suspects are taken for statement recording and they start demanding between shs 150,000- 200000?= if they want them to be released,” another victim says.
Those who give money to these middle men take release orders to Luyima’s office, signs on them and suspects are released immediately without charge.
“If you are not on Luyima’s team and you go to his office requesting for the release of your motorcycle, he doesn’t give you attention but instead threatens to arrest you”.
“If you want a release of your motor cycle, you have to pass through his agents who are always staged in the canteen of CPS disguising as workers while others moves around traffic offices”.
Another victim says “My brother was arrested in boda boda operations and was taken to CPS Kampala, when i went to plead for him. I was sent to Luyima’s office and he chased me saying that he will appear in court. When i was till outside his office, i saw people taking release orders to his office and he signed on them and some people were released”.
She added “I asked some people at CPS why some were being released while others not, they told me that if you want your brother to be released, you talk to those people now. I stopped one boy who was putting a white shirt written CPS Canteen i told him to help me have my brother released, he asked to pay shs 200,000 cash which i did not have at hand”.
She further explains that” at around 8:00pm I approached another man in the corridors and asked for help. The man took me to the office of Mr Mutabingwa where I narrated my problems and it was him who called Luyima to release the boy and gave him a receipt to pay to the bank”.
The IGP has also secretly put a team of PSU investigators to investigate ASP Luyima and other traffic officers who were mentioned in the extortion.
Traffic police Chief Dr Kasiima after receiving instructions has since directed his blue-eyed boy SSP Norman Musinga to halt all the operations.
Musinga also sent a directive to all Regional Traffic Officers and OC Stations to stop operations.
Drama however ensued after Dr Kasiima freed all suspects Luyima had already harvested by Thursday evening.
Sources say by last evening, Luyima had arrested over 50 suspects from around Clock Tower and down town Kampala.
He strictly took them to room 35 to allow his agents to do as usual but to his surprise, Dr Kasiima was still in his office and heard noise. He went reportedly to room 35 and told Luyima not to further arrest any rider.
“I have forgiven all the suspects who are here. No receipt, no arrest i have just cautioned you and go home.” Kasiima told the cheering suspects.
When contacted, Traffic police spokesperson ACP Charles Sebambulide Charles could not deny or confirm the development.
“I have heard that information circulating that boda boda operation in Kampala have been stopped but i need to confirm from the Director Traffic and at the moment, he is attending a meeting at Naguru. I will ask him and get back to you,” he said during an interview.
Norman Musinga the Kampala Metropolitan traffic police commander confirmed the suspension of crackdown on boda boda riders.