Six convicted over illegal single fuel pumps in Masaka

The convicts appearing in the dock at Masaka Grade One Magistrate on April 2, 2024.PHOTO/GERTRUDE MUTYABA

What you need to know:

  • Last year, authorities in Masaka City decried single pump filling stations, branding them "a threat to residents because they don’t comply with the existing laws."

The Masaka Grade One Magistrate has convicted six people over setting up illegal single fuel pumps in the city.

Prosecution led by Mariam Njuki alleged that the convicts unlawfully constructed single pumps which are very dangerous in the communities.

The convicts include Augustine Kawooya, Mathias Ddumba, Ronald Ssenkumba, Saad Ssenyonga, Joan Umwali and Paul Kasagga.

However, the convicts’ lawyer Eddie Sansa asked court to give his clients a lenient sentence “since they were fulfilling President Museveni’s call for starting up businesses and employing fellow Ugandans.”

Sansa further said a lot of money and expensive machines were used to put up the facilities, adding that his clients need a reasonable time to remove them.

But presiding magistrate Aloysius Baryeza Natwijuka discouraged the convicts from continuing their businesses.

“This offense carries a maximum sentence of a fine of shs200,000 or a period of three years imprisonment or both, but the convicts pleaded guilty and did not waste court’s time,” he observed.

He then ruled that the convicts should pay Shs200,000 or be imprisoned for  three years with an ultimatum of six months to remove the illegal single pump fuel pumps.

Edward Nuwamanya, an officer attached to the Ministry of Energy in charge of operations, said 28 single pump fuel stations were discovered in Masaka City during a recent crackdown.

“The standards that are required in the petroleum supply law are still limited and we are going to traverse the whole of Uganda to make sure that these pumps are phased out,” Nuwamanya emphasized.

Last year, Masaka City Mayor Florence Namayanja decried single pump filling stations, "branding them a threat to residents because they don’t comply with the existing laws."

In May 2022, government introduced   guidelines on operations of fuel stations which require any person who wishes to construct such facilities to first obtain a building permit from the ministry of energy before commencing construction.

 A fuel station is not supposed to be located less than 200 metres from a high-density residential area. It is also not supposed to seat less than 200 metres from facilities such as a school, place of worship, hospital, markets, and playground, according to guidelines by Ugandan authorities.   

They are also required to maintain a distance of not less than 200 metres from another pump fuel station or the opposite or along the same road.

The regulations also provide a penalty of 48 currency points (about Shs960,000), or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both for any person who contravenes the regulations.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, there were 1047 licensed fuel stations and more than 2,000 unlicensed pump fuel stations operating in the country by December last year.