Police in Kampala has uncovered a racket involved in repackaging used engine oil from motor vehicles and reselling it.
In the basement of Shamba Complex located on Kyagwe Road opposite Kisekka Market, the strong smell of oil greeted news reporters as they walked on a stained floor leading to metallic lockup shops that are used as stores.
In four of the lockup shops, a well-orchestrated illegal business in the processing and packaging of fake oil and lubricants is going on.
One of the lockup shops is used as a processing plant for heating this oil, with a pipe releasing it into a cooler outside the lockup shop. Here, it is stored in metallic containers for days before it’s packaged into Jerricans labeled with well-known engine oil brand names such as Total and Shell.
According to Victor Ssekate, who operates in the area, the dealers of this counterfeit oil buy used oil from garages around Kampala. This used oil which is usually somewhat black in colour is boiled so as to be able to separate the dirt from the oil.
“Even though this process does not clear its colour completely, once some new but cheap oil is mixed into it, one cannot tell the difference,” Ssekaye told Uganda Radio Network.
It is this concoction that is put into branded jerricans of different big companies like Shell, Total, Caltex, Super oil International, National Oil and City oil among others.
Police officers from the Directorate of Interpol and International Affairs yesterday carried out an operation codenamed ‘Fagia’, sanctioned by the East African Police Chiefs Cooperation (EAPCCO). They raided the building and recovered hundreds of containers with this counterfeit oil.
Preliminary investigations reveal this oil and other lubricants are sold in different shops that are not necessarily dealers for the products especially fuel stations.
While police was able to arrest 10 people in connection to the fake oil, the owners of the facility have yet to be arrested.
The manager of Shamba Complex has been asked to avail documentation regarding the renting of the four lockup shops in the basement.
It is also suspected that similar oil is being made in different areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mpigi by this same group.
The police spokesperson Emilian Kayima says this is just a tip of the iceberg with so many fake commodities locally concocted.