Home Investigations Investigative Series: Inside the Endless Mbale Street Parking Fee Collection Scandal

Investigative Series: Inside the Endless Mbale Street Parking Fee Collection Scandal

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One of the employees of Nalu Tours and Travel Agency who was beaten recently
One of the employees of Nalu Tours and Travel Agency who was beaten recently

By DaParrot Investigative Desk

After completing his University level in 2018, Kenneth Mugira (not real name) who had stayed jobless for close to four years, finally secured a job at Nalu Tours and Travels Ltd (NTTL) in mid-May, a company that majorly deals in collecting of parking fees in different parts of the country.

NTTL had successfully secured a multi-million contract of collecting street parking fees in the newly elevated Mbale City on March 12.

“We won this tender in November last year but other competitors fought us, they went to Courts of law to block the agreement but Court dismissed the case, proceeded to IGG, and went to Mbale city RCC Ahamada Washaki but that couldn’t and won’t work,” Robert Luzze Kamya Managing Director of Nalu Tour & Travel Limited told Journalists that day.

To Mugira, this was a perfect favor from God, “since I come from Mbale and I was now going to be stationed in Mbale, this was a huge evidence for jubilation and a small celebration was made at our home,” he said.

Nalu Tours and Travel was expected to commence on Monday, May 16 and Mugira was among the eight employees including their manager who arrived at their Offices located at Mbale Shoppers early.

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James Kutosi the Public Relations Officer of Mbale City Council
James Kutosi the Public Relations Officer of Mbale City Council

On Sunday, May 15, Mugira joined his colleagues in the job interviews where he was among the few successful candidates and was asked to start work on Monday.

“By 7:00 am I found my colleagues signing the attendance book, and I joined, but a few minutes while we were still signing,–Boom trouble surfaced,” he exclaimed!

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“Unknown men dressed in plain clothes holding stones and huge sticks showed up at the meeting, without saying or asking for anything, they started beating us including our manager,” he said.

Mugira says this unexpected attack sent shock waves, changing the positive expectations into negativity.

“I personally didn’t manage to recognize the faces of the attackers but luckily enough I was able to capture the number plate of one of the vehicles that ferried them, it was black in color with registration number UBG 292N,” he said.

He adds that he was injured but most shocking and annoying is the way his manager was beaten and undressed.

“I am currently receiving medication from Ebenezer Medical Centre with sponsorship from my Manager. The attackers stole some money, office property, and the attendance book for the manager,” he further narrated.

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Although none of the victims can recognize the attackers, Mugira says that the camera on the building recorded everything and can best be used to identify the attackers. Police are yet to release the footage which it took immediately after arriving at the scene.

“We were in fear that the attackers could come back and taking the fact that our manager was undressed we did not move out of the office. The manager later brought some people who escorted us to the Mbale City Central Police Station where we all recorded statements, we were given form three to go for medical checkups. The video footage was taken by police and the copyleft to the manager as evidence,” explains Mugira.

Some of workers of CIAL who have refused to leave Mbale Street
Some of the workers of CIAL who have refused to leave Mbale Street

He says that they are un operationally living in fear of illegal work operations of their rivals yet their legal contract is on.

The rivals, Mugira meant are Central Investments Ltd (CIAL) a company that formerly collected the street parking fees but found their Contract canceled due to an alleged breach of contract with the Mbale City Council.

How it all Started

Following, what they called numerous breaching of Contracts by CIAL including continuous accumulations of agreed arrears up to Shs247 million, the Mbale City Council earlier this year canceled the street parking fee collection contract that had been given to CIAL.

The contract was on March 12, warded to Nalu who is supposed to remit Shs17.7 million to the Council on a monthly basis.

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Confrontation

Citing what he called the fraudulent cancellation of their contract, Muhammad Wafuba, the Director of Central Investment Agency Ltd vowed never to evacuate the street because the Council in addition fraudulently awarded their contract to Nalu Tour and Travel, whom he said had forged the documents of Specific Powers of Attorney as per the evidence for URSB.

Wafuba told a local news agency that his company had been collecting money on behalf of the Divisions of Northern and Industrial City Division and not on behalf of Mbale City Council as it’s alleged by the City Leadership.

He also attributed the low revenue realization to the COVID-19 lockdowns which hit the country for over two years where vehicles were not allowed to move and thereby no revenue was collected at the time of the Lockdown.

In what appeared as a direct response to Wafuba, Cassim Namugali the Mbale City Mayor said that Nalu Tour and Travel Ltd won the tender legally and it was signed in January though other companies had not been satisfied yet.

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“We gave out this contract after getting a go-ahead by PPDA tribunal and the commercial court which handed the two petitions from other competitors who didn’t go through,” he told reporters recently.

“We had central Investment agency ltd but their contract expired last year and we gave them an extension of three months then we gave the powers to the divisions which have been using them to collect but we advertised and we had new contractors,” he added Wafuba’s statements attracted reactions from James Kutosi the Public Relations Officer Mbale City Council who on April 4, through the media told the general public to restrain from paying the street parking fees for two weeks because they (Council) had suspended its collection.

The two weeks elapsed Friday 20 May.

Police was deployed recently to stop the conflicting groups
Police were deployed recently to stop the conflicting groups

Court Case

The Council later hurriedly rushed to Mbale High Court, requesting it to issue an interim order restraining Central Investment Agency Ltd and Mbale Truck and pick-ups Drivers Association from collecting fees from street parking and loading and offloading.

Mbale High Court May 18, dismissed the Council’s application after the duo’s lawyers led by Nagulu & Mugoda Advocates raised objection before the main application, that the documents they filed were not competent.

Mbale City council has no mandate to remove the central investment and Mbale Truck and pick-ups Drivers Association from managing fees on the streets of Mbale,” Eddie Nagulu told reporters on May 18.

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Wafuba later reaffirmed to Journalists that the Court had dismissed an interim application because it was incompetent, and the main ruling was set for May 25.

“It’s not true that we are illegally managing revenue in the city. They permitted the division town clerks to take charge of the revenue collection on their behalf and the money we have been remitting on the accounts of the division councils,” he noted. He added that,

“We were given a tender but shortly after starting work, the City council began construction of Naboa and cathedral Avenue roads which frustrated the performance of revenue collection.”

In the same development, Phillip Kiza, Vice Chairman of Mbale Truck and pick-ups Drivers Association faulted the Council over failure to do their work adding that it just wants to bring confusion in town among the drivers.

Further Explanation

In an exclusive interview with DaParrot on May 20, Kutosi narrated the entire story.

He said that after the expiry of the CIAL’s contract, they deliberately and illegally continued collecting the fees, without remitting the funds to the Council in addition to numerous atrocities they have committed.

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“The matter in Court is not about whether they have a Contract or not but there were submissions in Court as Central Investments Agency Ltd and Mbale United Tippa Lorries Association with their lawyer Eddy Nangula of Nangula and company advocates saying that they dismissed the interim order by Mbale City Council,” said Kutosi. For as far as Mbale City Council is concerned, Kutosi said

“There has never been an ‘interim order’ rather it was an application for the interim order so the application was with the wisdom of the magistrate or the registrar and agreed that both parties leave aside the issues of the interim order and focus on the application and 25th May 2022 at 4:00 pm is the day for the next hearing.”

Tribalism Allegations

Numerous sources who spoke to DaParrot on condition of anonymity said that among the reasons CIAL is blocking Nalu Tours and Travels Ltd is related to tribal sentiments. It is understood that CIAL is owned by Gishus while Nalu is owned by Basoga.”So there is that beef, these are asking saying how can Basoga come and collect money in our town,” a source said. We reached out to Wafuba for his direct response to these allegations but his known phones were off by the time of filing this report.

In part two of this Investigation, we shall bring to you how the wrangle has dragged in top City Bigwigs

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