CAA staff arrested, ban on use of mobile phones reinstated as extortion rocks Entebbe Airport


Extortion, manipulation, intimidation at Entebbe Airport!

In a move that many see as an attempt at denying public information on the inner workings at Uganda's international Airport, Civil Aviation Authority has reinstated the ban on use of mobile phones by staff at the airport in reaction to complaints of extortion at the country’s only international airport.

Addressing journalists on Friday, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority(UCAA) deputy Director General, Olive Birungi Lumonya admitted that the complaints of extortion by members of the public are genuine and noted that some staff have been arrested over the same.

“This was a staff of Uganda Civil Aviation Authority but in the video, he was doing it outside the airport. He has however been arrested. We have clear procedures on what to be followed to punish him," Lumonya said.

Since the start of this week, extortion claims have rocked Entebbe Airport with several members of the public claiming  to have been asked up to as much as $1000 dollars before they could be allowed to depart the country and on refusal to pay, many said they had been stopped from boarding the plane.

Commenting about the matter, Maj Gen Apollo Kasiita Gowa, the Director Citizenship and  Immigration Control at the Internal Affairs Ministry further admitted guilty , noting that some of their staff have been involved in such vices but noted they are to crack the whip.

“We are not angels  and some mishaps happen but we have taken action. Action has been taken on errant officers found wanting and we shall continue taking action. We need to work with integrity and honesty. This is a continuous process as they say Rome was not built in one day,” Maj Gen Gowa told journalists.

According to the UCAA deputy Director General,Lumonye, all the circulating videos have been reviewed as part of investigations into the allegations, noting that whereas some of them were found to be authentic, others were fake.

“We would like to re-assure the public that all cases and complaints submitted to UCAA  will be thoroughly investigated and action taken," she said.

Lumonye  said from 2020 to date, at least 26 staff from different agencies operating at the airport  found guilty of misconduct have been suspended, terminated or subjected to other disciplinary measures.

The UCAA deputy Director General apologised for the unbecomings but said they are to change for the better.

Ban on use of phones

Last year, CAA banned contracted staff working at Entebbe airport from using their mobile phones and other personal devices while on duty.

Only passengers were exempted to have their mobile phones.

Addressing journalists on Friday, the UCAA deputy Director General said in the light of the recent extortion reports by members of the public, the ban on use of mobile phones has been reinstated as one of the ways to stop corruption at the country’s international airport.

“While there may have been laxity in implementation of this directive, it is now being re-emphasized and is going to be fully enforced. All staff who interface with passengers in operational areas are prohibited from use of private mobile phones while on duty within the terminal building,”Lumonya said.

"The vice has happened through use of mobile phones. We know the implementation of the directive has not been effective but right from today, we shall implement it, follow it up and shall enforce it."

New measures

According to authorities, from now, all staff at the airport will be required to wear their name tags for easy identification but also as one of the ways to curb such vices like extortion.

The UCAA deputy Director General also said management has resolved that their staff can no longer take a passenger off a plane after boarding.

“It has also been resolved that after a passenger has gone past immigration on departure, recalling them or offloading them for any reason would only take place with express permission of the director of airports and aviation security or General Manager for UCAA.”



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