Anger As Police Declines to Compensate Traders For Impounded Beans

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Twenty-five produce dealers in Ndorwa West County in Kabale district are up in arms against police for declining to compensate them for their impounded beans.

The traders under their umbrella Kahungye-Buramba-Ryakarimira Fresh Food Vendors Association say that police staged a roadblock at Kigongi in Kabale town around 08:00 pm on Monday where they impounded a Fuso truck registration number UBH 390A that was carrying over 250 bags of fresh bean pods destined for Kampala from the Uganda-Rwanda border.

According to the traders, police officers on patrol claimed that they were under instructions from their superiors to impound the lorry because the traders were smuggling Caro light Cream through the porous Uganda-Rwanda border to Kampala under the guise of transporting fresh beans.  The traders say the police officers towed the truck to Kabale Central Police station for inspection.

However, the traders say the officers left their beans to be hit by rains despite their failure to find the carol light cream on the truck. On Tuesday afternoon, the traders stormed the police station demanding for compensation, saying their beans had lost value after being hit by rain. Ian Byaruhanga, Chairperson Kahungye-Buramba-Ryakarimira Fresh Food Vendors Association, says that the lorry was carrying bean pods worth over Shillings 30 million.  

Byaruhanga says that traders who were on the lorry tried to convince police that they didn’t have any contraband but police insisted on impounding the lorry. He says police offloaded the entire truck and didn’t find any contraband as suspected. Byaruhanga argues that since police sabotaged their business, it should compensate the traders for the losses of the damaged beans.

Honest Tumuhereze, another affected trader says they are stuck since they bought the bean pods from farmers on credit.    

Owen Tumushabe, another affected trader suspects that police officers intentionally impounded their beans to make the traders make losses. Tumushabe wonders why the officers rushed to offload the beans despite the fact that it was threatening to rain.

Elly Maate, the Kigezi Region Police Spokesperson, says police is mandated to impound and search vehicles suspected of transporting smuggled goods. Maate says that police acted on information about two trucks that were transporting Caro Light cream from the border to Kampala.

He explains that although no contraband was found on the impounded truck, police will not take responsibility for compensating the traders for the damaged beans.

The truck was still parked at Kabale central police station by the time of filing this story. Caro light cream is one of the banned skin products in Uganda.

According to the World Health Organization, Caro light Cream contains mercury, a key ingredient in several beauty products, which causes damage to the kidney and skin and body rash.

It also reduces the skins ability to resist bacterial and fungal infections. WHO also states that the other ingredient; Hydroquinone is linked to cancer, organ system toxicity and, respiratory tract irritation.