Eleven people who were arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit have been charged with fraud in regard to disappearance and diversion of hundreds of millions which had been budgeted for public works.
The suspects were arraigned before different magistrates at the Anti-Corruption Court at Kololo and case files over corruption related charges of abuse of office, causing financial loss and conspiracy to defraud.
Seven of the suspects were remanded to Luzira prison pending hearing and determination of their applications for bail while the four were released on cash bail.
Those remanded include Dokolo District officials; Thomas Codeos Okello (District Engineer), Alex Ongom (Finance Officer), Henry Ajwanga (Senior Accounts Assistant) who were remanded over false accounting of Shs230m which money was meant for road works.
They denied the charges before Grade One Magistrate, Mr Moses Nabende who remanded them until March 28 for bail application.
Alebtong District officials; Stephen Andeoye (Chief Finance Officer), Alex Ojom (Internal Auditor), and Otyeno Bonny (District Water Engineer) were remanded until April 1 for bail application over abuse of office, false accounting and conspiracy to defraud government of Shs176m.
In another case file, the Court remanded Lira Municipality Chief Finance Officer Geoffrey Ebonga over abuse of office and false counting and causing financial loss of Shs307m. He was remanded until March 28 this year for application.
Mr Nabende also issued criminal summons against former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Dokolo District George William Omuge, Abdulnoor Mbaagwa Muwonge (former CAO Alebtong), Boniface Olwa Odora (District Accounts Assistant).
Before Magistrate Asiimwe, Amolatar district officials Silvester Ongony (Chief Finance Officer) and Senior Accounts Assistant, Mr Douglas Ongwen were released on bail after they denied charges of alleged abuse of office, causing financial loss to government and conspiracy to defraud in regard to Shs54m, the money which was meant for road works.
The court also released on cash bail, Lira Municipality Town Clerk Abirebe Assy Tumwesigire and Patrick Awiyo (Principal Treasurer). They were charged with embezzlement and false accounting of Shs9m
Mr Asiimwe also issued criminal summons against Ms Doreen Labong an account assistant for Lira Municipality and Amolatar District Engineer Edward Olwech.
The accused persons were arraigned in court hardly a week after State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt Col. Edith Nakalema toured Lango Sub region on fact finding mission following complaints of fraud against the officials.
The accused officials were detained by Police Criminal Investigations Department after they had failed to give accountability and convincing explanations of money spent on various projects in their respective Districts of operation.
Their detention followed a two-day fact finding tour in which the Lt Col Nakalema headed team conducted investigative meetings with the district leaders and councilors as well as locals of the districts of Lira, Alebtong, Dokolo and Amolatar.
Lt. Col. Nakalema urged the people of Lango Sub-Region not allow technocrats to cheat them.
It is alleged that over Shs700 million meant for government projects, was mismanaged in Dokolo District while over Shs40 million earmarked for road works in Amolatar District had been misused with no work done.
“If we can rise to say no to corruption, by standing against what is wrong, our country will be good. It is time to clean up. We are going to do our best to ensure that the corrupt government officials must account and answer,” Lt Col Nakalema said.
She urged Ugandans to desist from politicizing issues relating to corruption saying that the vice has eaten a lot of government money meant for service delivery to citizens.
Lt Col Nakalema stressed that people who are involved in cases of corruption should be held accountable adding that whistle blowers must be protected. She called on Police Detectives to investigate all the alleged corruption cases in the Districts of Lira, Alebtong, Dokolo and Amolatar.
By David Sseguya