Arua City Central Division authorities have taken action to confiscate bags of cement sold on Wadrif Road in Pangisa ward. On Monday, October 16, 2023, a security and enforcement team from Arua Central Division seized more than 80 bags of cement, each supposed to weigh 40 kilograms.
This operation was initiated in response to numerous complaints from buyers who had consistently received cement bags containing 10 kilograms less than the specified weight, a deception perpetuated by unscrupulous sellers.
The confiscated cement has been transported to the division headquarters, where it awaits investigation, and authorities are considering the potential arrest of those responsible. The offenders had abandoned the site upon realizing the presence of enforcement officers.
Notably, the adulterated Tororo Cement was being openly displayed and sold on the main road, raising suspicions. Some customers and nearby residents, who chose to remain anonymous, acknowledged that this fraudulent activity had been ongoing for some time.
Victor Lomori Vidal, the councillor for Pangisa Upper and deputy speaker of Arua Central Division, was part of the operation team. He disclosed that the vendors of substandard cement had been previously warned but continued their illicit practices, which prompted the authorities to take action. When initially confronted with complaints, the dealers denied any wrongdoing, but the grievances persisted.
In response to this, Vidal stated, “So, this time, we decided to individually weigh the cement, and all of it was found to be under 10 kilograms per bag. That’s why we confiscated them. We need to determine whether this is an issue from the Tororo factory or if they are responsible for the alterations, as we’ve heard they also provide them with empty cement bags during their purchases.”
Malik Drakuma, the Arua Central Division city clerk, emphasized that the operation will extend to other cement stores. Such fraudulent practices contribute to substandard construction work and the risk of building collapses. Drakuma added, “We will continue this operation in other stores because this is just one example out of many. It is unfair. Not only does it harm legitimate businesses that pay taxes on their sales since these are sold on the streets, but it also results in revenue loss through taxes. Moreover, consumers are already aware that a bag of cement should be equivalent to several wheelbarrows of sand, which could lead to structural failures in buildings under construction.”
Efforts to contact the dealers responsible for the alleged adulterated cement were unsuccessful, as they had gone into hiding during the operation.