By Steven Candia
POLICE has issued a directive barring vehicle importers from impounding cars sold to third parties by their agents on grounds that there is an outstanding balance. The police also ordered the importers to desist from using Kanyama’s in impounding such vehicles.
“If at all you are to impound it should be after seeking a clear court order and that order should be executed by genuine court bailiffs,” Kampala police boss Felix Kaweesi said on Thursday at a meeting between the police and vehicle importers and dealers.
The move police said is aimed at curbing a fraud racket where vehicle importers use agents (brokers) to sell vehicles to members of public from whom they later impound the vehicles for small amounts even where the substantial amount has been paid and an agreement entered between the client and the broker, thereby occasioning injustice.
“In many cases even where the full amount has been paid the broker does not submit or declare the whole amount paid by the client yet the log book remains with the importer,” Kaweesi said.
“These cases are rampant and it must stop. This system must be abandoned because you are cheating the public. I do not want to see anyone using an unauthorized people to clamp or impound people cars. If you are to impound it should be after court has issued an order which must be executed by genuine bailiffs,” a stern looking Kaweesi said at the meeting held at the Katwe police station.
In attendance were all the regional police commanders of Kampala, their regional criminal investigations department (CID) counter parts and divisional police commanders (DPCs). Kaweesi said in such circumstances it was wrong for the importers to go for the clients instead of the brokers.
He singled out Trust Dealers and Kingsway who he said were notorious for this and acting through their agent Godfrey Mwesigwa (popularly known as Kabalega) who he said has defrauded lots of buyers. Mwesigwa is the owner of Kabalega motors.
“I think he has defrauded people to the tune of over sh700m,” Kaweesi said. Osman Yusuf, the operation manager Trust Dealers acknowledged that they had been suing Kabalega but said he was surprised when the complaints started popping up.
‘We have worked with him for more than seven years but were shocked when these complaints started emerging,” he said that they had tried chart a way of resolving them.
Many people whose vehicles had been impounded in similar manner raised issues with Kabalega prompting Kaweesi to hand him over to Kampala CID boss Rebecca Namugenyi.
Kaweesi also directed that all car importers and owners of car depots to profile and accredit brokers who operate in the depots.