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Nakalema to bus companies: Refund extorted money within 7 days

Passengers in Kisenyi bus terminal

Passengers in Kisenyi bus terminal

The head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House Col. Edith Nakalema, has directed bus companies that collected money from students for travel upcountry but never offered the service, to refund it immediately.

Nakalema raided bus parks in Kampala where she arrested and also stopped bus operators from hiking transport fares for the surging upcountry travellers. The transport crisis arose out of President Yoweri Museveni's directive, banning inter-district travel exception between Kampala-Wakiso and Mukono for 42 days effects today June 10 as a means to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Nakalema says the bus companies that extorted money must refund it within a period of seven days. She says bus companies must work with the residence district commissioners (RDCs) to ensure that the affected passengers receive the money at the district headquarters. 

On his part, the chairman Uganda Allied Bus Owners Association, Solomon Nsimire apologized for the mistake and vowed to collaborate with the government towards recovering the money from the bus companies that will be found culpable.

Nsimire who was not able to tell how many companies were involved in the practice, says they are yet to establish which companies these are from among the over 150 companies they have. He, however, says his worry is on the verification of the tickets that were issued by the bus companies.

Nsimire also indicates that the issue of refunding money to the passengers who were transported by these bus companies but were overcharged cannot be affected in case it is proposed.

Nsimire says that buses find it hard to operate on a one-way route and they had to recover this fuel of the return journey through an extra charge though he admits that some companies overcharged.

Meanwhile, Nsimire says his office has so far not received any complaint from any passenger about being charged and failing to receive the service by a bus company despite not disputing the fact that passengers suffered extortion.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd