By Ivan Mwine
Col. Edith Nakalema , the Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHAU), has ordered all operators of buses and taxis who hiked transport fares after president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni announced a partial lockdown in a bid to fight COVID-19 to refund all the monies they charged passengers in excess of the standard fares.
Col. Nakalema’s directive comes after a meeting she held Thursday morning with officials from the Ministry of Transport and Works, together with leaders of operators of buses and taxis in the country.
Nakalema’s directive followed massive public outcries about transport operators hiking fares for travelers and students going upcountry, following president’s Museveni’s directive banning movement from one district to another as one of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“@AntiGraft_SH @edthnaka has convened a meeting with Ministry of works and Bus owners to harmonize on how the passenger students and citizens will be refunded their money. The passengers were overcharged yet not transported by the bus companies,” the State House Anti-Corruption Unit tweeted Thursday.
According to sources that attended the meeting. Nakalema tasked Residential District Commissioners (RDC) to oversee the exercise, since government eventually had to intervene to transport the students back home, following closure of schools by the President in a bid to combat further spread of COVID-19.
She advised all people who have been charged excess transport fares by bus companies keep their receipts, saying that the Anti-Corruption Unit is going to follow up and hold the thieving bus operators responsible.
It should be noted that when the situation worsened, the Uganda police, Ministry of Education and Sports, plus other government departments had to intervene by offering buses to transport upcountry thousands of people and students who were stranded in bus parks around Kampala.