Kampala- Two officers of the police Flying Squad have been arrested on charges of hijacking a truck carrying 25 tonnes of imported sugar which was later discovered being offloaded at a secret location in a city suburb.
The sugar, imported from India, is estimated to be worth Shs81 million in taxes.
Imported sugar attracts 100 per cent tax liability.
Police said three constables attached to its Flying Squad hijacked the truck and drugged the driver, Mr Gideon Wesonga Omolo, with chloroform.
Mr Omolo is a Kenyan driver working for a clearing firm, Livercot Impex Limited.
As he approached Mukono Town towards Kampala, three police officers stopped Mr Omolo and arrested him under dubious circumstances.
Mr Omolo was ordered to drive towards Kampala. Upon reaching Bweyogerere Town, Omolo reported to two female traffic police officers in a traffic jam suspecting that the police constables could be thugs because of their rude behaviour.
The traffic police officers assured Omolo that he was safe because those were policemen. He proceeded.
However, being too scared, Omolo used his mobile phone to call his boss.
The police constables got furious, beat him up and put him on gunpoint, according to a senior police officer handling the investigations who refused to be named.
The officer said that after being put on gunpoint, Omolo was drugged with chloroform and later dumped in a bush as the errant police constables disappeared with the truck.
“Hours later Omolo came back to his senses and reported to Jinja Road Police Station,” the police officer said.
The truck had been destined to Nakawa customs centre to clear taxes on the imported goods.
Police said Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) had been expecting the truck but when it failed to arrive on the appointed date, it sparked suspicion. A joint team of police and the URA enforcement officers mounted a search and discovered the truck being offloaded at a secluded place in Makindye Division, three days after it went missing.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango confirmed they had arrested two of the suspects and impounded the truck containing 500 bags of 50kg of sugar each.
“We got a tip off from the wananchi (locals) in Nkonge, Makindye Division that either stolen or smuggled sugar was being offloaded. We swung into action surrounded the place, got the truck and sugar,” Mr Onyango said on Friday.
“The consignment did not have clear documentation. As for now it is with police as we carry out further investigations. Police have also made two arrests but I cannot confirm that any of the police personnel was involved,” he added.
“As soon as we are done with investigations, we shall hand over the sugar to URA. Sugar is a perishable good, so we do not want to hold it for long,” he added.
Omolo was detained at Kabalagala Police Station for two days to help police in investigations. URA officials said the goods belonged to a senior government official whom they did not name.
While at Kabalagala Police Station on Thursday, Sunday Monitor overheard officials of the clearing firm on their mobile phones updating the owner of the goods on the new developments about the matter.
Efforts to talk to the URA spokesperson Sarah Banage were futile as she did not pick our calls.