ENTEBBE –The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has, following complaints of corruption and extortion at Entebbe International Airport, announced new supervisory measures targeting to curb the vice.
On Thursday, social media was awash with allegations from travellers – narrating how different bodies at the airport – including immigration, health, security officers were demanding for bribes before clearing them to take flights.
The authority admitted that there were cases of extortion that were thoroughly investigated and disciplinary action taken against those that were found culpable.
Emmanuel Barungi, the Airport General Manager said that they had noted the complaints and said that where such incidents could have happened, they were regrettable. He said that they will step up supervision to ensure acts of extortion are curbed.
According to CAA, some of the Airport personnel do not report directly to the Authority but to other service providers that include, including handling agents -NAS and DAS, airlines, the Ministry of Health through port health, Security agencies, URA customs, and Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (Labour externalisation agents), among others.
However, in cases reported, CAA management said in a statement on Thursday, that they have been and would be thoroughly investigated and disciplinary action taken against those found culpable.
A traveller who spoke on condition of anonymity said that no specific amount of money would be demanded but it ranges from $100 to 500 depending on the person querying and the nature of the query. The victims may then, after negotiations, be directed to a person to who to hand the money.
The source says that the alternative is to refuse to pay the amount and miss the flight. But usually, a traveller weighing between losing money for another air ticket, and also getting late for the scheduled business, chooses to pay the bribe and save themselves the bigger bother.
But Barungi said that any Airport staffs demanding money from travellers was committing an illegal act.
In March last year, three officials were arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit after a refugee missed a flight ending up spending another US $1800 for another air ticket. CAA discouraged travellers from paying money to staff for any favours, adding that the traveller could equally be held liable.