Masaka court orders six illegal fuel station owners to uproot their pumps

Masaka court orders six illegal fuel station owners to uproot their pumps
Some of the accused illegal fuel stations owners

Six unlicensed petrol station owners in Masaka town will have to uproot their tanks and pumps after a court found them guilty of setting up businesses in unlawful manner.

Ronald Ssenkumba, Paul Kasagga, Hajj Saad Ssenyonga, Joan Umwali, Augustine Kawooya Kiwaalya, and Mathias Ddumba found themselves at the mercy of Judge Aloysius Baryeza Natwijuka.

The court, after a meticulous examination of the evidence, concluded that the accused had initiated their operations unlawfully.

Despite prior warnings and directives to cease operations, the owners persisted, displaying a disregard for legal obligations.

Their defiance culminated in charges of disobedience and tampering with official seals denoting their stations' unauthorized status.

During the proceedings, the accused admitted their guilt, acknowledging their failure to comply with regulatory directives.

Prosecutor Mariam Njuki said the premeditated nature of their actions demonstrated deliberate defiance despite ample forewarning.

In defence, Eddie Ssaansa, representing the accused, contended that their actions were driven by a desire to heed President Museveni's call for economic empowerment through self-sustaining ventures.

However, the court remained steadfast in upholding the law, prioritising public safety and regulatory compliance over individual motives.

Judge Natwijuka, in delivering the verdict, imposed a 20,000 fine on each of the accused, if not, the imprisonment sentence of three years.

Furthermore, the court ordered the closure of the illicit operations within six months.

The significance of this ruling extends beyond the courtroom, resonating with Edward Nuwamanya, responsible for overseeing petrol station operations.

Nuwamanya reiterated the imperative of identifying and rectifying substandard petrol stations, citing potential risks to the welfare of Masaka residents.

The ruling serves as a poignant reminder of the indispensability of regulatory compliance in safeguarding public welfare and upholding the rule of law.

As Masaka endeavours to foster a conducive environment for economic growth and development, adherence to legal norms remains paramount in ensuring a secure and prosperous future for all residents.

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