Uganda to prosecute swindlers of refugee cash

KAMPALA, Uganda-The State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hon Musa Ecweru has assured the international community that government is ready to prosecute all government officials who were involved in swindling money meant for refuges in the country.

The Minister said Uganda as a country has been credited by the international community for hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees and that such image cannot be spoilt by corrupt official in government.

“As Ministry of Disaster, we are just waiting for the office of the Inspectorate of Government to carry out their Investigation on the suspects in the office of the Prime Minister who are being accused of eating refugees money; once the investigation is over; then they will be prosecuted in courts of law to answer charges of corruption” Ecweru said.

The Minister made the remarks while launching the Run for Refuges 2018 at the Eureka Places Hotel in Ntinda. The Minister noted that government has the mechanism to apprehend all those who were involved in the mismanagement of the refugee’s funds.

His comments come at a time when the Minister for Disaster and Preparedness, Eng Hillary Onek interdicted senior officials in the Ministry on allegation that they swindled money meant to be used in the procurement of humanitarian items for refugees in the country and also inflated the number of refugees currently in the country for their personal benefits.

The affected officials that include Mr Apollo Kazungu (commissioner refugees), Mr Walter Omondi (Refugee Desk Officer in Mbarara), Mr John Baptist Sentamu, formerly the camp commandant in Mbarara, who was recently transferred to Hoima and Mr Francis Nkwasibwe (a registration officer/assistant commandant in Mbarara, who too had been recently transferred).

The run for refugees  is aimed at raising funds  country wide  to supplement  government  and development partners  efforts  to provide  for the needs  of the refugees  and hosting communities across various parts of the country .

Currently Uganda is hosting the highest numbers of refuges in Africa, and the third largest globally. The refugee population is now about 1.4million. 

Women and Girls represent 54% of the total refugee population, while children constitute 60%.

Robert  Otim the  National  Coordinator  for the initiative  told Journalist that  refugees in Uganda need more support which can not 100% be  provided by government and development partners  such as the UN agencies responsible for refugees and in their drive, they expect to raise good resources to support refugees in the country.

“We expect to raise about UGX600 million in the runs that will be conducted in Kampala and also in Arua, all the proceeding will go towards   supporting refugees to access clean water which is now big problem both to the refugees and the hosting communities “  Otim Explained.

Patrick  Okello  the WASH  advisor at Ox farm  Uganda  one of the  agencies that are supporting humanitarian  support for refugees said  due to inadequate access to clean water by refugees, it has  led to the outbreak of diseases such as cholera in most camps.

The run for refugees will involve many activities in the month of April to May some of the key activities involve pre- visits to refugee settlement such as Bidibidi, Run for refugees corporate dinner in Arua slated to take place on the 18th May, 2018 and run for refugees Marathon in Arua on the 20th May, 2018 and the final run for refugees corporate dinner in Kampala on the 8th June, 2018.