Uganda’s aviation authorities said Tuesday have launched an investigation into claims of extortion of money from passengers by Airport staff, the most recent being a student who was heading to China and stopped by DAS Handling staff for lacking adequate documentation.
The incident resulted in a social media tirade titled “Entebbe Airport thieves” posted by a China-based Ugandan Tijay James.
The passenger identified as Asaba Brian Musa was stopped from proceeding with the Kenya Airways flight to China by airport ground handling firm DAS Handling Ltd staff, the handling agents for the airline, because of having a one-way ticket yet travel documentation indicated study for a short period of between 4-5 months.
The incident occurred on Sunday 18th March, 2018 but only became public knowledge on Tuesday.
But Mr. Vianney Luggya, Civil Aviation Authority Manager Public Affairs, told TheUgandan they had “noted with concern various social media complaints”, adding: “We have launched an investigation.”
“We would like to assure the public that investigation of this and other complaints already commenced. The passenger was stopped from proceeding with the flight to China by DAS Handling Staff, the handling agents for the airline, because of having a one-way ticket yet travel documentation indicated study for a short period of between 4-5 months,” M. Luggya clarified.
“It is important for the public to know that while CAA manages and operates Entebbe International Airport, there are several other independent providers of key services at the Airport including, but not limited to Immigration, Customs, Handling agents (ENHAS and DAS) and airlines, among others.”
“The Authority has and continues to engage all the airport service providers to ensure that complaints are duly addressed to the satisfaction of the airport users.”
The working theory is that when the passenger’s admission notice indicated that there was need to have registered with the academic institution by 2nd March, 2018, failure of which would be “regarded as giving up the admission.” The passenger did not present to the handling agents evidence of valid registration.
A DAS Handling source familiar with the matter said: “Despite the fact that the passenger had a valid visa, travelling with an expired admission letter and a one way ticket would certainly have led to the passenger being denied entry into China, which attracts huge fines for the airline and the handling company.”
The source added: “The passenger was then advised to obtain a return ticket if he was to be allowed to travel. Upon hearing this he overreacted and started taking pictures of our staff and sent them to a colleague of his who vowed to teach our staff a lesson by posting the photos on social media (Facebook) alleging that our staff solicited for a bribe of 200$ to allow him to travel. The passenger has since denied that our staff solicited a bribe but the damage was done.”
CAA Disclosure: The travelling public is urged to immediately report any form of extortion experienced during travel through Entebbe International Airport to any of the following; Airport Operations Duty Officer – 0757-270809, General Manager – 0752507618, Manager Operations – 0758483681 or Manager Public Affairs – 0752426559.