Kampala, Uganda | URN | More than 500 motorcycles impounded over time by Uganda Police on traffic and COVID-19 related offenses are to be auctioned off.
Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said that more than 500 motorcycles have remained unclaimed at different police stations in Kampala Metropolitan areas which has become a challenge of space at these stations.
Most of the unclaimed motorcycles were impounded by security during the enforcement operations of COVID-19 guidelines. Others were impounded on charges of obscuring number plates, and others different traffic offenses committed on the roads.
The law allows the police to write to court to auction abandoned vehicles or motorcycles. More than 50 of the motorcycles are at Central Police Station in Kampala, 40 at Katwe police station, and 30 at Nateete police station. The rest are scattered at police stations across Kampala Metropolitan area.
Owoyesigyire explains that they are currently working with Uganda Revenue Authority and the judiciary to come up with the official list of motorcycles being held by police, and those that will not be claimed within the next few months will be auctioned off.
“It has become a challenge to our stations, the motorcycles are growing in number everyday, so the management has decided to work with URA to take details of these motorcycles, then after we shall work with the magistrate’s office, after six months, then we shall have no option but auctioning these motorcycles as the law indicates,” Owoyesigyire said.
He however explains that investigations have established that most of the unclaimed motorcycles are suspected to be stolen, the reason why riders don’t show up with proper documentation of ownership.
In order for the motorcycles to be released, owners must present documents of ownership, or pay fines in regard to the traffic offence committed on the road. However, the boda boda operators who spoke to Uganda Radio Network say the fines are too high for them to pay and many of them have failed to claim their motorcycles.
Joseph Kabugo, a boda boda operator in Kyebando claims that the police have in the past impounded his motorcycle for very flimsy reasons. He says the fines are too high for him to pay and reclaim his motorcycle.
Henry Musinguzi, a boda boda operator who used to be based at City square in Kampala, accuses the police of thuggery. He said his motorcycle had almost all the requirements, but it was still confiscated during the second lockdown at Wandegeya traffic, and until now he has failed to secure it back.
“Since my motorcycle was impounded, I have on several times tried to secure it, but police keeps on adding different offenses and requirements like renewed permit, license, insurance, and other things that amount to 3,000,000 shillings which I can’t afford now, so it means I will lose my motorcycle,” he lamented.
But Sula Lubega, the chairman of Rubaga division boda-boda operators concurs with the police decision saying that there is no way a rider can fail to pay a fine of 100,000 to claim his motorcycle once he is the genuine owner.
Sula noted that it’s the right decision by the police to sell off these motorcycles to many unemployed Ugandans that need to work.
Recently, Lawrence Niwabiine, the acting Director of Traffic Police said boda-boda cyclists were the biggest group that violated traffic and road safety regulations as well as the COVID-19 orders.