Police truck intercepted transporting banned charcoal in Kitgum

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Police truck intercepted transporting banned charcoal in Kitgum
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By Denis Opoka

A shocking discovery in Kitgum has sparked outrage after a police truck was found transporting banned charcoal.

The truck, registration number UP 9570, loaded with 89 bags of charcoal reportedly belonging to Aswa West Regional Police, was impounded by the UPDF  in Namokora Sub-county, Kitgum District.

Hajj Marijan Walire, the Kitgum Deputy Resident District Commissioner, revealed that the truck was impounded after a tip-off from the residents who saw it being loaded with charcoal near Ogul trading center in Namokora Sub-county.

“These people immediately alerted the army about the suspicious activities the police truck was being involved in, prompting them to act,” he revealed.

He disclosed that the driver of the truck, upon interrogation, revealed that the charcoal belonged to Beatrice Lalam, a wife to a retired police officer, and a resident of Angagura Trading Center in Pader district, who requested him to help transport the charcoal to her home.

Walire further added that two other occupants, including Beatrice Lalam, the owner of the charcoal, are still at large.

According to Walire, the truck was immediately directed to Kitgum district headquarters where the bags of charcoal were offloaded, waiting for a court order for auctioning to raise revenue to the district, while the truck was parked at Kitgum Central Police Station.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Francisco Shaka, at the Aswa East Police Station, confirmed the incident, describing it as regrettable, and identified the driver as Charles Olweny attached to Aswa West Regional Police in Gulu City.

“He was reportedly sent by an unidentified police officer in Kampala to transport bags of cement to his village in Namokora sub-county and on his way back, he decided to involve himself in that punishable act,” he explained.

According to Shaka, the driver will be handed over back to his duty station  in Aswa West Regional headquarters  where he will be charged with discreditable conduct, which carries a maximum sentence of dismissal from the force once found guilty.

In May 2023, President Museveni issued executive order number three of 2023, banning commercial charcoal trade among other things, because of its detrimental effects on the environment.

The ban was supposed to be implemented from June 30 but was postponed to September 30, 2023, when it came into effect.

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