IGG to Probe Corruption Allegations at Entebbe Airport

The Inspectorate of Government has taken over investigations into reports of extortion and bribery at Entebbe International Airport.

Beti Olive Kamya, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) says that the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) cannot investigate itself and that her office will instead carry out a systematic inquiry in the institution that seeks to cure the persistent corruption scandals.

Over the last five years, the Inspectorate has investigated 21 cases of corruption relating to the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and according to Kamya, the Inspectorate recovered huge amounts of money from fraudulent procurements, an indication that there is a systematic problem in the Authority.

Kamya was on Wednesday addressing Journalists at the Inspectorate of Government (IG) head offices in Kampala. Without divulging details about the investigation, she said that they will be able to make recommendations and take necessary action within the IG mandate.

Even though she commended the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Control, Maj. Gen. Apollo Kasiita-Gowa for swiftly apprehending the culprits, Kamya said that it was not enough to dismiss or commit them to disciplinary action.

“As the Inspectorate of Government, we shall work with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority and the Directorate of Immigration to prosecute those that were apprehended. It is not enough to dismiss or punish them, but we also need them to be prosecuted,” she said.

Kamya applauded the public for coming out strong on the corruption practices at the Airport, noting that if this momentum continues, Uganda shall be redeemed from corruption. She emphasised that corruption in Uganda cannot be effectively addressed without functional systems that enable the general public to be actively involved in the processes of promoting good governance and taking charge of the fight.

In the past few days, different airport users have expressed fury via social media platforms over extortions at Entebbe Airport. The reports have since led to the arrest and dismissal of staff at the Airport by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA).

Following public complaints, all staff at the airport will be required to wear their name tags for easy identification. UCAA also re-instated a 2021 directive to the airport staff banning the use of personal mobile phones while on duty.

On Friday, UCAA Deputy Director General, Olive Birungi Lumonya said that one of their staff suspected to be involved in extortion had been arrested after a video recording showing him bargaining for a bribe went viral on social media. Lumonya also said that since 2020, 26 staff operating at the Airport have been terminated, suspended and others subjected to other disciplinary measures.

A list of cases at the Airport seen by Uganda Radio Network (URN) indicates that some of the cases committed by the officials since 2020 are extortion of money, attempted extortion and human trafficking, negligence, aiding smuggling of rhino horns, theft of money from passenger bags, conspiracy to traffic humans, facilitating illegal passengers and others.

Actions taken for these offences are termination of contracts and dismissal, suspension, final warnings, transfer to other stations and others.      

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