Crime preventers threaten to storm police headquarters over Shs14b debt

Wednesday August 14 2019

Unhappy. Mr Ronald Rwamakuba (right),  the

Unhappy. Mr Ronald Rwamakuba (right), the chairperson of National Crime Preventers Forum that supplied food to the police, talks to colleagues after addressing a press conference in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Damali Mukhaye

The crime preventers who supplied food to different police units across the country between December 2015 and 2017 have vowed to storm police headquarters to demand their money.
Under their umbrella, the National Crime Preventers Forum (NCPF), the suppliers claim they were contracted by Exodus Sacco, owned by the police, to supply food to different police stations on instruction of the then Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, but have not been paid.
The group’s chairperson, Mr Ronald Rwamakuba, told journalists at a news conference in Kampala that more than 2,000 suppliers are demanding about Shs14b from police authorities.
Mr Rwamakuba said they supplied food items, including posho, rice, beans, matooke, milk, beef and sugar, among others.
“We used our money to supply the above items for Uganda Police Force, but it is shocking that some of our friends who attained loans have since been arrested, while others have lost their properties which they had staked as security,” Mr Rwamakuba said.
“We have been patient for a very long time and it is high time police paid our money because the foodstuffs we supplied were consumed by police officers.”
He threatened that if police does not remit their money by Monday next week, they will stage a peaceful march to the police headquarters over the continued nonpayment.
Mr Charles Mukonde, the chairperson of Kanjansi Crime Preventers’ Food Suppliers, said they have been reliably informed that the Ministry of Finance released some money to pay off the arrears of some suppliers, but the police authorities have not released the money.
“We petitioned President Museveni last year and we have been informed that our money has been released, but to our dismay, we are not getting any information from the police concerning our pay,”Mr Mukonde said.
He explained that some crime preventers supplied the food items in groups, while others supplied as individuals.
“We do not want to run to courts of law because we want to sort out these things amicably,” Mr Mukonde said.
Mr Jim Mugunga, the Finance ministry spokesperson, told Daily Monitor that all the money to different ministries in relation to their budgets was released and, therefore, it is up to the police and other government departments to pay their suppliers.
“Police knows who their suppliers are, so it’s up to them to settle the arrears of the suppliers basing on first come and first serve basis. When we release the money for domestic arrears, we do not dictate what it should be for,”Mr Mugunga said.

How it all started

In September 2015, police contracted Exodus Sacco to supply food to the Force. The Sacco liaised with the Blaise Kamugisha-led National Crime Preventers Forum to provide catering services to the Uganda Police Force.
Exodus Sacco is a savings and credit association owned by police officers.
The suppliers, to date, have on several occasions attacked police for failing to remit their money amounting to Shs14b since the food was consumed by police.