Armed private guards not paid despite promises

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Kampala. The management of Range Protective Services Ltd is yet to pay its guards deployed in different parts of the country despite promises to do so.
Police, which has the mandate to, among others, ensure a private security company pays its employees promptly, moved to compel the company to pay the guards after this newspaper on Wednesday, June 14, reported that the guards had not been paid for at least seven months.

Officials from Range Protective Services, owned by businessman Habib Kagimu as part of his Habib Investments Ltd empire, in a meeting with police said the guards are owed only four months’ pay and not six or seven months as claimed by the guards. The four months acknowledged by the company are yet to be paid.

In an interview, Mr Hillary Kulayigye, the police commissioner in charge of private security companies, said officials from police had met with the company’s officials who promised to pay the arrears in two instalments. The last instalment, according to Mr Kulayigye, should have been paid last week.

“We intervened and they said they paid two months and I think one of the directors was supposed to come last week to pay the remaining two months and unfortunately, I have not checked to see if he has come and the guards have been paid the balance,” Mr Kulayigye said.

He expressed shock on learning that the guards had not been paid and promised to get back to us with concrete answers.
A team of about 15 guards on Thursday petitioned Platform for Labour Action (PLA), a non-governmental organisation that supports and protects the rights of marginalised workers, over their pay. The organisation assigned a lawyer to the guards.
One guard, names withheld on request, said the company had deposited their December, 2016 salaries in June soon after this newspaper ran their story but pleas for pay since this year started had fallen on deaf ears.

Ahmed Osman Noor, the chief executive officer of Habib Investments Ltd, said when contacted: “You went ahead and carried a very negative story about our company. It is not good to follow up on people like that.” He reasserted that the company was finding problems to pay the guards because 90 per cent of their business comes from the troubled Uganda Telecom Limited. He, however, warned us to go slow on the matter.

“I am requesting you to restrain yourself from pushing this matter further. I know you are working but you are just damaging us further and we don’t intend or we didn’t intend to hurt anybody when we were doing this business,” he added.
Challenged on whether Saturday Monitor should not highlight the plight of the guards, Mr Noor without giving a timeline said they would be paid.

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