Kenyan fish exporters decry extortion by Uganda cartels

Some Ugandan officials have come under the spotlight for allegedly extorting millions of shillings from traders exporting salted fish from Kenya to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

This is reportedly being done through cartels at the borders of Busia, Mpondwe, and Elegu.

Fish exporters say officials from the Busia border fisheries department of the Ministry of Agriculture in eastern Uganda and some at the Mpondwe border point in western Uganda, reportedly demand at least Shs31m from each truck to be allowed transit from Uganda to the DR Congo.

Failure by exporters to bribe the officials leaves the consignment impounded, and fictitious charges and hefty fines imposed on them.

Mr Hassan Omari, a Kenyan fish exporter at the Busia border, said in a well-orchestrated move, the officials had restricted the export of fish to only four companies, making it hard for Kenyans to transit their fish to DR Congo.

“We are simply using Uganda as a transit route for our fish to DR Congo; so, for a sister country to come up with a policy that our fish has to go through Ugandan companies amounts to interference with international trade,” Mr Omari said on Wednesday.

Formerly, he said, they have been paying Ushs6m as “hire fees” to the truck owner, which has now been raised to USh9.8m for each company truck, adding that company owners charge traders Shs8m for each consignment.

Ms Sarah Nabwire, another fish exporter who reportedly paid USh2m last December to get a fish export license from the MAAIF, said she has not received the permit to date and is being forced to use the four companies, which are charging high fees to hire out their trucks.

According to her, each time a trader has to export fish, they are forced to make payments of USh8m to the licensed company for each consignment of fish, while an extra USh9.8m is paid for hiring a truck from the very companies.

At the Busia border, Ms Nabwire claims USh3.5m is paid as a “clearance stamp”, while another USh5.2m is paid to a clearing agent to clear the fish consignment.USh1.5m is reportedly paid at Kikorongo Mpondwe border to “sort out” Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) officers and USh3.5m to “guard” the fish.

According to her, the cartel takes over Ushs31m from a single truck, which she says is their would-be profit and capital.
Maj Joseph Labu Cherop, an intelligence officer at the FPU, however, said he was not aware of any extortion by his team at Kikorongo. He promised to investigate the matter and get back with further details.

“If our officers are involved, that is news to me; I will interrogate this allegation and get back to you,” he said in a brief telephone interview.

Maj Cherop, however, asked this publication to provide the number plate of the trucks, which were reportedly impounded by FPU officers at the Kikorongo checkpoint.

This publication, which has withheld details of the truck for security purposes, established that the truck was impounded on April 21 on charges relating to lacking a license to transport fish. Three of its occupants, including the exporter, driver, and his turn man were detained.
The exporter told this newspaper that whereas the truck had a Kenyan license to transport fish, authorities reportedly impounded the consignment and paraded them before the court in Katwe where they were fined Shs1m.

To secure their freedom, he said they had to pay USh15m to unknown officials, through some women traders at Kikorongo.
Mr Seif Yusuf, another Kenyan fish exporter, said the four companies and 10 trucks licensed to transport fish either belong to top Ugandan officials based in Entebbe or are for cartels working closely with MAAIF officials.
The international customs law on goods under transit allows customs clearance formalities to take place at the point of destination.
In Uganda, goods under transit are cleared under the single customs territory agreement, implying that goods under transit are never subjected to any form of taxes and levies until they reach their final destination.

Read more on Monitor

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.


Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

One Health Lens Podcast

Discussing health matters and human stories from Kenya and across Africa. We talk big picture from people to policy, ecosystems, and everything in between. Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onehealthlens

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.



Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.

Sport On

Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.


The extent of technological growth is beyond mere acknowledgment; it has seamlessly integrated into our daily existence. A few years ago, the notion of paying electricity bills through mobile money or recharging with 'tokens' in Kenya seemed inconceivable. Online product sales were considered distant, and artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various facets of our lives. Amidst these technological leaps, those with a solid understanding of tech can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build a sustainable livelihood. Tech over Show aims to be the platform facilitating discussions among thought leaders, innovators, tech companies, and the government, addressing challenges and opportunities in Kenya's thriving tech industry.


Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Politalk podcast

This is The Politalk podcast. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience


A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula


Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.


This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.


This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.