Thugs grab oil money in road construction as the polite wait for jobs

At least Shs150m is stolen from road construction trucks every month through fuel siphoning in Kikuube, Buliisa and Masindi districts, a Chinese construction company has reported.

Security officials in Bunyoro are scheming for an appropriate mechanism of breaking a wide and deep-rooted network of fuel thieves.

Analysts say the network appears to involve internal employees of the construction companies, public transporters, boda-boda riders and some members of the security forces.

At least one person has been shot dead by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in October last year’s incident in Biiso sub-county, Buliisa district.

This week, police in Kikuube district impounded six jerry cans of fuel and a vehicle registration number UAD 189 K suspected to be known for stolen fuel transportation.

Mr Julius Allan Hakiza, the Albertine region police spokesperson told Kazi-njema News that security across the region are working to contain the situation and see the progress of oil road works without disruption.

The China Railway Seventh Group, on Monday this week reported to Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Amlan Tumusiime, that the company was losing 4,500 litres of fuel every month reflecting a monitory value of about Shs150m.

Mr Tumusiime told this website that he has scaled up investigations in his district where so far many havens of thugs have been identified, only pending action for evidence based prosecution.

“We are now serious in investigations. We shall leave no stone unturned because it is sabotaging the investor’s progress and tainting the image of the people of Bunyoro and Ugandans at large,” he said.

China Railway Seventh Group is undertaking the polishing of the 25km Hohwa-Nyairongo-Kyarushesha-Butole Road, 25km Kabaale-Kiziramfumbi Road and 47km Masindi-Biiso Road. The company is implementing a three-year project at the cost of Shs500b.

Mr Ambrose Atwine, the company spokesperson, calls upon the security in the region to intensify operations because internal fuel theft control mechanisms appear to be failing. He says theft is badly affecting their work and the progress of the projects.

Once completed, the infrastructure makes a smart network of roads connecting the oil fields with the main roads to Hoima city and Masindi municipality.

As Masindi-Biiso Road connects to the Tilenga project area, the others connect the Kingfisher area and the oil refinery area to Hoima city.

SBC- the contractor for the construction of Hoima International Airport has also been going through tough times to contain illegal fuel drain off where some police officers were faced with connivance allegations that they, however, denied.

Mr Michael Businge, a human rights defender in Hoima city expresses worry that fuel theft might result into shoddy work as the contractor works to complete the project without losses.

“That loss can end into the pocket of the tax payer. Once the contractor is overwhelmed by thieves, he might choose to compromise other services to avoid a loss and we might not notice it soon,” he says.

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