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Fuel racket hits Mengo

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st December 2000 03:00 AM

A RACKET of illicit fuel dealers has hit Mengo, a suburb west of Kampala.

A RACKET of illicit fuel dealers has hit Mengo, a suburb west of Kampala.

By Milton Olupot and Enock Kakande A RACKET of illicit fuel dealers has hit Mengo, a suburb west of Kampala. The fuel, including petrol and diesel, is sold at Aggrey Zone, a residential area. The fuel is reportedly delivered to the area, about a kilometre away from the Rubaga/Mengo roundabout, in 20-litre jerrycans four or five times a week, The New Vision has established. Residents say the trade has been going on for over eight months now. The source of the fuel has not been established, but some sources suspect that the dealers are agents of fuel truck drivers who siphon it from their tanks in transit to Rwanda. A litre of petrol is reportedly sold at between sh800 - sh1,000 while diesel goes at between sh600 and sh800. At the gazetted fuel pumps, petrol prices currently fluctuate between sh1,500 and sh1,560, while diesel is between sh1,260 and sh1,330. The fuel is ferried in a saloon car late in the evening. The car stays in the area overnight, then motor-vehicles including omnibus taxis, special hire cars, boda-boda motorcycles and other trucks go there to re-fill, usually between 5.00am and 6.00am. Residents interviewed said they were aware of the booming illicit business, but were not willing to divulge details to the press. A source said the Local Defence Unit personnel are involved in the trade. Other sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said some local leaders are involved in the business. A source said concerned residents had contacted the LC1 chairman for Aggrey Zone, Mr. Mukwaya, a number of times. A resident said the fuel at Mengo is sold to customers known to the dealers, while new customers have to be introduced by the old ones. When contacted, Mr. Mukwaya said he had received information about the illicit trade and his council was investigating the matter. He had, however, earlier on denied knowledge of the matter. "It is a very serious issue. We have information that it is the unemployed youth around this village who are doing this, but we are going to handle it very seriously," he said. He added that the LC1 executive was due meet last week over the matter. Mukwaya said the illicit fuel dealers were spread all over the city and the trade was becoming more popular with increasing unemployment. "I think it is the rampant poverty that is driving these young men to such dangerous business, but we shall handle it," he added. Mukwaya, however, said he suspected the source of the fuel to be government departments like the Police and Army. The DPC, Old Kampala, Abbey Kisubi, said the Police were not aware of the trade, but promised that they would check it out immediately. "Since you have informed us we shall monitor and stop it," he said. He said there was a history of illicit fuel dealing in his jurisdiction. Ends

Fuel racket hits Mengo

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