In 1998, we operated a service station in Ndeeba on Masaka road. A customer brought a fully loaded truck, and serviced it at our service bay: the works – oil change, filter change, greasing, etc. Total bill at that time about sixty five thousand Uganda shillings. The truck then proceded on its journey on Masaka road, and after about seventy miles, the truck got an engine knock.

The owner of the truck insisted that in replacing the oil, our mechanic had forgotten to tighten the nut on lower part of the engine, leading the oil to leak out and hence the engine knocking. The mechanic swore that he had tightened the nut!

Within days, we received a demand note to pay twelve million shillings from a prominent Lawyer, or be sued. Secondly other motorists were beginning to shun servicing trucks at our station. We held a meeting with the truck owner to try and reach a compromise. The truck owner was in no mood to compromise either we paid him twelve million or faced legal action. Hoping against hope, we agreed with the truck owner, to take the truck to the Agents of that brand of trucks in Uganda, to have the official Agent’s garage determine the following Issues:


  • Whether indeed the engine knock was due to poor servicing at our station.

  • Whether twelve million shillings was a realistic cost of repairing the engine.

Both parties agreed to abide by the findings of the authorized agent.

Both parties shared the cost of towing the truck to the approved agent. We did not spend more than thirty minutes at the garage of the approved Agent.

The senior mechanic at the garage, asked for the log book, and took the last service card and speedometer reading, at the time of the engine knock. He then said that the truck had exceeding the mileage at which service was due by five thousand kilometers, and that the engine of the truck, had infact in all probability knocked before the truck was brought for service!! Yours truly was all smiles. The truck owner was crestfallen. Needless, to say he never got a coin from us!!




In 1997, parking at petrol stations in Kampala was still allowed. Parking fees were indeed a valuable source of revenue, for stations with sufficient space. Around May 1997, a diver parked a Tata lorry, at the station, paid a parking fee of two thousand shillings and obtained a receipt. In the morning the same driver came to report that the truck he had parked at our station was missing. Shortly the police was all over the station. For two thousand shillings in parking fees, we were being questioned for disappearance of a lorry valued in millions.


Five days later, the police arrested the lorry, a few miles out of Kasese headed apparently for Zaire. The police established that the driver, who had parked the lorry, had in fact driven it away after midnight, and sold it to racketeers, obviously without the knowledge of the owners of the lorry. Parking the lorry at station and obtaining a receipt, was only a trick by the driver to explain where the lorry was or supposed to be!!!