National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC and security are investigating a scam involving people targeting water consumers with high bills purportedly to help them reduce the bills.
It follows complaints from several water consumers indicating that some staff from NWSC are contacting them using the information they provided while complaining about the high water bills with promises of helping them to revise the bill at a cost because of an ongoing audit that is expected to last three months.
Ideally, NWSC staff are supposed to get in touch with customers with complaints about their water bills at no cost. The workers are expected to review the bill and resolve the matter with the consumer.
However, instead of following this procedure, some staff are reportedly sending customers messages asking them to pay some money to have their bills revised. In a message that URN has seen, a person identifying himself as Jesero from NWSC Ntinda branch asks a customer for Shillings 52,000 to reduce her water bill.
“Dear customer, can I help you to reduce your water bill (NWSC) at a cost of 52,000,” the message reads in part. Jesero later called the customer explaining that the money will help them off-set a very high bill.
Patricia Ankunda, another water consumer in Kamwokya, says that even after paying the money nothing was done to her bill.
“This person called knowing all my details. My account number, account name and even my balance. With such details, I knew it was someone from within. I paid Shillings 100,000 but a week afterwards, my bill has never reduced. The number I sent the money too is no longer connected,” Ankunda said.
NWSC is currently carrying out an audit into discrepancies in high water bills. Sam Apedel, the Public Relations Manager NWSC, says it is illegal for staff to ask customers for money.
He says they are aware of people asking for bribes from customers to reduce their water bills, adding that investigations are ongoing by security to get to the bottom of the matter.
Apedel says the process to revise a water bill is long and involves the branch manager and not just one person. He encourages customers to report such cases to police.