By Andrew Irumba
Luwero: Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) staff attached to Luwero UNRA weighing bridge was this afternoon arrested and detained at Luwero police station on orders of the area RDC Najjuma Juliet for allegedly soliciting a bribe of shs 1,180,000/= from city bivulu promoter Balaam Barugahara’s Driver, at the weigh bridge, enroute to Masindi.
According to Nzalamba Ephraim, Balaam’s driver who was transporting cement in the official branded company truck number UBF 210E, when he arrived at Luwero weigh bridge last night, upon stepping on the weighing scale, a one Tugume Brian, UNRA’s weigh bridge operator ordered him to park the track in the parking yard without explaining the reason or giving him a statement of offence on paper. When he approached him to get the truth, Tugume told him that his track had overloaded and there are two options for him;
1-To pay him (Tugume) a bribe of ugx 1,180,000/=
2-To wait and be taken to court the following morning and pay a fine of shs4m+ on URA accounts or face jail, that’s according to the driver as he narrated to RDC and Balaam. The driver, instead negotiated with Tugume to atleast pay shs200,000/= and be let to go citing the fact that he couldn’t afford what he asked for above. It’s said that Tugume refused the offer and told him to find ways to find the total amount he asked him to pay go to court.
At that moment, after failing to convince him, he called his boss Balaam to intervene, because surely, the driver couldn’t afford to raise such huge amounts of money in few hours. The driver called his boss in Kampala and narrated the situation. What drove Balaam mad was the boldness Tugume openly asked for the pay as though it was a legal practice! Tugume, on phone told Balaam thus: “Just pay what your driver has told you. I can’t reduce anything. You pick sacks and sacks of money from Muzei, is 2m anything to you? just pay!” Tugume said and immediately threw the phone back to Balaam’s driver!
All that happened around 4am in the night. The now raged Balaam then picked his phone and called directly to state house and CID kibuli bosses. State house handlers, immediately called responded by calling their staff, Luwero RDC to move to the scene and have the chap arrested.
How Balaam And RDC Hatch Plott To Arrest The UNRA Chap:
Balaam sent to his driver the millions that the UNRA chap had asked and then alerted the RDC and plain clothed detectives to arrest the staff while receiving the bribe. They swiftly moved to his office ready to nail him, but on seeing suspicious faces around monitoring his movements, he smelt a rat and first declined to receive the money from Balaam’s driver. The RDC and the detectives then quickly moved and launched a search in car for more exhibits to in him. According to detectives, they found shs 951,300 which Tugume had reportedly squeezed from other vulnerable drivers, which was also taken by CID detectives as exhibit.
According to detectives, they launched the search after they info that it was not only Balaam’s driver who was complaining but they found other several drivers at the station complaining.
Maganda Faizal. a truck driver who was transporting chicken feeds from Jinja to Luwero had been at the weigh bridge since Sunday after Tugume asked for 1 million bribe and poor lad could not raise it. By Tuesday today, Faizal was still looking for the money so he can be released. RDC ordered for his immediate release.
RDC also found another man who had been at the bridge for days, and was extremely sick. RDC patrol car rushed him to hospital and was admitted upon arrival. RDC blamed the station manager over negligence.
More interesting is the fact that when RDC ordered Balaam’s track to be weighed again in their presence to ascertain how much load his truck had exceeded the acceptable weight, it weighed 500kgm lesser than what it weighed last night, which now translated into just 65 bags of cement, which were removed. loaded on another small truck and allowed to proceed!