By Spy Uganda
Mutukula: Following spike in COVID-19 transmission in Uganda, the ministry of health on August 27, 2020 noted that beginning September 2020, it will start charging organizations and individuals for COVID-19 testing despite multi-billion donations from both local and international bodies.
Among the groups ministry said would pay for testing included truck drivers entering into Uganda, individuals seeking to know their COVID-19 status, companies and government entities that wish to test their staff for purposes of prevention–would all be required to pay for testing charges.
WATCH VIDEO! Returnees Ategeka Peter Kamuhanda and Kulumba Godfrey Detained At Mutukula Police Post Over Failure To Raise COVID-19 Testing Fees & Uganda Police Bribe Of 200,000.
Others included Ugandans returning from abroad and visitors arriving into the country from other countries. Each person is charged Shs 240,500 and this commenced on September 1, 2020.
Ten days after implementation of the charges, according to TheSpy Uganda investigative reporters at various border points of entry and according to the findings at Tanzania-Uganda Mutukula border, immigration authorities and Police in-coordination with some ministry of health officials are already minting money from troubled Ugandans coming from abroad via Tanzania airlines since Entebbe airport is still closed, whom they test and force into their designated quarantine centres at the border.
Our investigators have also established that since it’s now mandatory for all entrants to pay shs240,500 for the first test and wait for 14 days while sleeping in the officials’ owned hotels that are designated at the borders, Mutukula, Kabale and other bordering districts, after spending a fortnight, police with MoH officials squeeze patients again to pay another 240,500 to confirm whether they are still positive or turned negative, which is alleged that before their quarantine centres are full, they can’t let any patient go. In other words, it’s no longer shs240,500 but shs481,000, since you have to pay twice, a thing that has complicated the whole exercise further.
We have since learnt that Police are extracting a lot of money at a bonanza pace targeting mostly a group of Ugandans coming from UAE countries who dock in Tanzania and decide to use land transport into Uganda over Entebbe’s closure.
“In their target, they believe that Ugandans from UAE have a lot of money and therefore when they tell you to pay and you refuse, they get other means to torture you till you pay them both the COVID-19 fee or their bribe and they let you go immediately even if you are positive,” a source said at the border.
Our investigations landed us to a one of the culprits Ategeka Peter Kamuhanda who came from Dubai via TZ. On arrival at Mutukula, was first arrested, detained for two days, robbed off his property that included his personal belongings like phones among others allegedly by the Police officers who received him and later bunched him into Mutukula Police post on charges of ‘illegal’ entry into the country and inciting violence but in real sense according to our sources, is arrested because of failure to pay for their private quarantine centres and bribe. “I’m a Pan-Africanist, I don’t believe in a corrupt society and can never participate in corruption,” Ategeka reportedly told off one of the security operatives who then turned violent to him and his colleague and were slapped with frivolous charges and detained. Kamuhanda is a pioneer member of Pan-African pyramid-Uganda chapter and was returning from UAE to renew his visa in Kampala.
Few minutes after noting Ategeka’s pain he is going through over Government’s servants, our investigator was alerted that there is another victim known as Kulumba Godfrey who was brutalized and beaten by police over the same scenario of refusing to pay police bribe since he was also a Dubai returnee whom they suspected to have all the money they needed.
“I also came from Dubai last week, when i reached at the border, police with MoH officials told me to pay the shs200,000 ‘kickback’ and later pay 240,500 COVID-19 testing fee which i didn’t have and to them it sounded as if I have refused intentionally. They tortured me to near death and later dropped me here at Mutukula police post and opened charges against me of inciting violence and illegal entry into the country” Kulumba confessed.
However Kulumba says, after several days in detention he was surprised to be accused by the same police that it’s him instead who beat them up to pulp. Meanwhile, as he was still explaining the torture he has passed through to our investigative reporter, one of the police officers arrived to check whether he had accepted to pay at least the ‘special’ shs200,000 which is the ‘officer’s fee’ (police bosses manning the border), or not so he would see whether to let him off the hook.
When our reporter Andrew Irumba contacted ministry of health spokesperson Ainebyona Emmanuel asking him why should their officers in connivance with Police, force people into private quarantine centres and squeeze money out of poor Ugandans, he responded that all those entering the country are supposed to pay for only COVID-19 tests and that ministry was not aware of any other additional fees.
Ainebyona added that still it is not mandatory to be taken into a private quarantine centre since they understand that there are those who can not afford such charges, hence a reason they reserved public centres meant to be used by such categories of people.
Contrary to Ainebyona’s explanation, when Ategeka explained to the immigration officers that he had no money for their forceful quarantine and requested to be taken to Entebbe public quarantine centres, corrupt, unscrupulous and greedy police officers refused and gave him an ultimatum of one hour to pay their 200,000 bribe or COVID-19 fees.
After failure to raise their requested amount of money, they were both taken back into Mutukula police post cells, where they are still being held awaiting to be arraigned before court over charges of alleged beating police officers, inciting violence and illegal entry into the country.