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EXCLUSIVE: How UPDF bust racket of soldiers selling army’s free bottled water

The UPDF army has arrested two of its officers for allegedly selling the army’s custom Uzima brand mineral water (FILE PHOTO)

WAKISO – The army has arrested two of its own on allegations of selling bottled water meant for soldiers on the open market.

Uzima Water is manufactured under the National Enterprise Corporation, company for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

During an operation carried out last Thursday, a UPDF driver and another soldier at the rank of captain were arrested after being found selling 100 cartons of Uzima water meant for the army’s 5th Division, in Pader in Kakiri Town Council, Wakiso District.

Although a carton of bottled water usually costs about Shs12,000 on the market, a carton of Uzima water is usually sold for Shs9,000 to the public.

The army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, confirmed the arrest of the two soldiers.

“There was no involvement of Uzima bosses in the matter. A captain and a soldier involved in diverting 100 cartons of water have been arrested thanks to the UPDF internal systems. They will be punished accordingly,” Brig Karemire said.

He added that the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) is investigating the matter.

According to sources close to the investigations, the UPDF driver was delivering the water but money was to be picked by someone else.

“When water meant for soldiers is allocated to an army Division, some commanders tell the bosses at Uzima to sell the water and they share the money. Water meant for the 3rd Division in Moroto is sold in supermarkets in Mbale and Iganga leaving the soldiers without water,” a source claimed.

“The water was supposed to be delivered to Kawempe Growers where soldiers from the 5th Division who are deployed to keep security around Kampala stay. That is the water that had been diverted,” the source added.

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