Police chief Martin Okoth Ochola has finally sacked the officer in charge of traffic at Kampala CPS ASP Julius Luyima following public outcry about corruption and extortion carried out by traffic officers while conducting operations in the city.
Luyima’s sacking comes just few days after Ochola instituted a team of investigators from Police Professional Standards Unit to probe him and other traffic officers who have been accused of carrying operations with the aim of extorting from motorists.
According to a police message, Luyima will now be operating 210.7km in Masindi district away from Kampala city.
He has been replaced by ASP Joy Zilamuke from Masindi.
Luyima has been fired alongside ASP Israel Wambetsyo the Deputy Kampala Metropolitan traffic commander in charge of operations.
There has been public outcry about Luyima arresting thousands of boda boda riders weekly only to be extorted using his middlemen while a few are given express penalties to pay in bank while the poor end in courts.
It is reported that ever since president Museveni ordered for a crackdown on reckless boda boda riders, Luyima and others used it as an opportunity to reap from the suspects.
It was against this background that IGP Ochola stopped further crack down on boda bodas after being informed that some traffic officers had turned it into their daily source of income through arresting riders and getting money from them in order to be set free.
“IGP received some complaints from several members of the public and from boda boda industry that some traffic officers and other people connected to officers have accumulated a lot of wealth from these operations,” says a source.
It is reported that Ochola has in possession a list of all traffic officers from KMP who have extorted millions of shilling through these operations.
“Some officers have built houses while others bought expensive cars in not later than five months. We want those officers to be investigated where they got the money,” a petition to IGP reads in part.
Sources added that people informed the IGP that most extortion is conducted at Central Police Station (CPS) Kampala and Katwe Police Station where most suspects are detained.
“IGP i want to inform you that ASP Luyima Julius who heads traffic at CPS Kampala arrests more than 200 boda boda riders daily and not more than 40 are taken to courts of law,” another person was quoted as telling IGP Ochola.
Sources added that ASP Luyima allegedly formed his squad which extorts money from riders before their motor cycles are released.
“After Luyima brings suspects from the field, his team camps in room 35 where the suspects are taken for statement recording and they start demanding between shs 150,000- 200000?= if they want them to be released,” another victim says.
Those who give money to these middle men take release orders to Luyima’s office, signs on them and suspects are released immediately without charge.
“If you are not on Luyima’s team and you go to his office requesting for the release of your motorcycle, he doesn’t give you attention but instead threatens to arrest you”.
“If you want a release of your motor cycle, you have to pass through his agents who are always staged in the canteen of CPS disguising as workers while others moves around traffic offices”.
Another victim says “My brother was arrested in boda boda operations and was taken to CPS Kampala, when i went to plead for him. I was sent to Luyima’s office and he chased me saying that he will appear in court. When i was till outside his office, i saw people taking release orders to his office and he signed on them and some people were released”.
She added “I asked some people at CPS why some were being released while others not, they told me that if you want your brother to be released, you talk to those people now. I stopped one boy who was putting a white shirt written CPS Canteen i told him to help me have my brother released, he asked to pay shs 200,000 cash which i did not have at hand”.
She further explains that” at around 8:00pm I approached another man in the corridors and asked for help. The man took me to the office of Mr Mutabingwa where I narrated my problems and it was him who called Luyima to release the boy and gave him a receipt to pay to the bank”.
The IGP had also secretly put a team of PSU investigators to investigate ASP Luyima and other traffic officers who were mentioned in the extortion racket.