Central Equatoria State, News

Traders decry collection of market security charges

By Bida Elly David

Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce has criticized the involvement of police officers from the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) unit in extorting money from traders for market security charges.

Robert Pitia, the chairperson of the state Chamber of Commerce told this outlet that he received numerous reports from the traders of the alleged extortion by CID officers.

He accused some illegal officers of using the names of public institutions to collect money that does not go to the government.

“Their role is, first of all, to look for criminals who deal in counter fake money or money laundering, but traders doing legal businesses in their shops don’t have any business with them,” he said in a phone interview.

He said, “Each institution has its personnel going for inspection; the Criminal Investigative Department (CID) does not have any role regarding following up traders.”

According to Pitia, many traders are encountering numerous losses in their businesses due to meaningless charges from institutions that have no authority or mandate to collect money.

He called on traders to be alert to these practices and inform the chamber of commerce about market challenges they encounter.

“We as chamber of commerce have offices in all these markets, so it is the role of chambers of commerce to work with traders directly, not police,” he lamented.

Mr. Pitia, however, said that some security officers took advantage of exploiting traders because some of them (traders) were ignorant, knowing less about their rights.

Four traders at Gudele Two market who preferred to remain anonymous told No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper yesterday that an amount of nameless 30,000 SSP had been collected from each of them by those who claimed to be CID officers.

The traders said they have been repeatedly forced to pay market security operation fees in a bid to be protected, noting that no receipts have been provided as evidence of the service.

“We have been paying without receipts given to us. Every time we try resisting, we are threatened and humiliated on top of our grievances,” one of the traders said.

The traders stated that they are encountering losses at the hands of different institutions collecting cash.

Efforts to reach the police for comments on the matter had proven futile by press time, as reported calls went unsuccessful.

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