Students Asked to Pay for Stolen Phones

Written by: 
By Sam Amanyire



KAMPALA - The In-charge of criminal investigations department (CID) at Makerere Police Station has said that a student whose phone gets stolen must again pay Shs 50,000 to get helped by the police.

Detective ASP Jackson Amali told our reporter that police has no money to invest in investigations that require tracking of stolen phones, therefore any student whose phone gets stolen must also pay to facilitate police track down the thief.

“ We are not facilitated by government to track down phone thieves and the telecom companies require a fee of Shs 30,000 and a court order before they  furnish us with call records,”

said Amali.

Amali was on Tuesday, September 11th discussing the security situation at Makerere University at his office. D/ASP Amali admitted that the fifty thousand shillings is a setback to many students who rely on support from their parents and this lets phone thieves off the hook.

He revealed that three cases of students being mugged by phone thieves have been reported this semester alone but hastened to add that many cases of phone stealing occur inside halls of residence resulting from owners’ negligence.

Many fresh-year students lost their phones in their first week at campus and no suspect has been apprehended by police.

Jovia Nabaasa, a first year student of Social Sciences, lost her phone at the Mitchell Hall Bazaar in her first week at campus.

“I couldn’t use my pocket money to give to police to track my phone, I had little money for my upkeep,” she said.

For John Okeya, a second year student of Journalism who lost two phones in his first year, it is futile to pay the Shs 50,000/= to police because they never track the phones.

“ I paid Shs 50,000 to MAK police for them to track down the thieves, but now one year later, my phones have never been tracked, so I would not advise anybody to suffer that double loss,” said a disappointed  Okeya.

Another Journalism student, Miria Niwomugisha, suffered the same fate only that for her she didn’t have the money to pay to police.

“After losing my phone to thieves as a fresher, I reported to Wandegeya Police Station but didn’t have the money to give them up to now nothing was done to my case,” said Niwomugisha.

It is ironical that the same students who have lost phones are the ones to pay again for police to do their investigations, and even after paying the Shs 50,000, there is no guarantee the police will track down the thieves.

Worrying trend

In March 2017, the university police released a report detailing a worrying trend of theft in and around the campus. In the report, at least 178 laptop computers had been stolen from both students and staff between 2013 and early 2017. 

The report, published by Uganda Radio Network, also revealed that 48 vehicles, 56 motorcycles and 76 mobile phones had been stolen from Makerere University.