Covid-19 lockdown: Vehicles with forged stickers impounded

Traffic police officers on Yusuf Lule Road in Kampala remove a sticker from a vehicle in Kampala yesterday. Police say some of the vehicles driving in Kampala are holding the stickers illegally. Inset are some of the alleged fake stickers that were plucked off a number of vehicles in Kampala yesterday. PHOTOS BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

A Joint security Task Force has conducted nationwide operations to crackdown on motorists who were flouting the ban on movement of vehicles, as part of government efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus in Uganda.

On Saturday, according to a statement by Mr Fred Enanga, the police spokesman; security teams created several checkpoints and found motorists who had left their homes to visit friends, go for non-essential shopping, transporting passengers, while others had no reason at all.

In the course of the operation, a total of 83 stickers were withdrawn from motorists in Kampala Metropolitan area.

The stickers, according to Mr Enanga, were not linked to the identity cards of the bearers.

He said that some vehicles were being misused by drivers to conduct non-essential movements including being hired out by unauthorised persons.

Mr Enanga said that some vehicles had stickers that were photocopied or scanned and printed; stickers that were duplicated and printed while other cars were using old and invalid stickers from the Ministry of Health.

He said that security teams also targeted vehicles that were carrying excess staff in contravention of the Ministry of Health.

“The majority were asked to return to their homes, while a few vehicles were impounded. We are meanwhile investigating a pharmacist, identified as Abiniv Sen, who bought a forged  sticker in the category for utilities; and Kenneth Mutabazi, a veterinary officer, who was found in possession of a photocopied sticker, that was issued to his wife, a banker at United Bank of Africa,” Mr Enanga said in the statement.

He said that other motorists with forged stickers whose cars were impounded include; Hussein Ssenyonjo Hussein, whose care had a forged telecom company sticker and Paul Mugambwa who had a forged sticker for food delivery. Others had forged stickers on their cars are; Andrew Angulo whose car had a forged sticker for the Office of the Prime Minister and a one Edwin Rukundo, whose car had a forged sticker.

 “We also encountered vehicles with permits from RCCs/RDCs and LCs, with clearances for periods up to one week, that are not related to medical emergencies; pickups carrying passengers and institutional vehicles like banks that were carrying non employees most likely for commercial or other reasons,” Mr Enanga said.

He said that they are expanding operations to crackdown on shop owners dealing in non-essential items.

“Most of them do leave their homes to stealthily transact business, our technical and intelligence teams captured them while sitting on their shop verandas and selling non-food items to customers, others displayed a few food items in disguise to dupe our enforcement teams, thus flouting the ban on social distancing,” he said.

Mr Enanga said that front-line officers at checkpoints have been ordered to only clear vehicles with Ministry of Works and Transport stickers with barcodes linked to the purpose.

These include among others; official vehicles of all security forces, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Private Security Companies, media, telecom companies, medical professionals, and utility companies, cargo trucks, whose occupants must carry institutional IDS and in line with the Standard Operative Procedures from the Ministry of Health.

He said that patients with chronic illness like cancer, kidney failure, and other serious illnesses that warrant frequent hospital check-ups, who have relevant medical documents, will also be cleared at checkpoints.