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Civil servants abandon office after Anti-corruption unit raid

Some of the officials arrested in Amolotar district

Some of the officials arrested in Amolotar district

Civil servants in Lira district have abandoned their offices for fear of being arrested by the State House Anti-corruption unit. 

Over the last one week, Anti-corruption unit detectives have been raiding municipal offices in the districts of Lira, Alebtong, Dokolo and Amolatar - arresting 10 civil servants in process over allegations of embezzlement and abuse of office. In Lira district, the team arrested the district internal security officer (DISO) Lt Gilbert Mwinyi over alleged extortion and Walter Fred Minyang, a local councilor at Lira municipality council, among others. According to the Anti-corruption unit, there are allegations that over Shs 705m meant for development projects in Dokolo district in FY 2017/18 was mismanaged. 

Now, a number of civil servants have stayed out of office in the aftermath of the raids. Notable officials out of office include the chief administrative officer (CAO) Mark Tivu, his deputies, the chief finance officer Geoffrey Ebonga and other heads of departments.

On Thursday and Friday, Tivu spent less than two hours in office. He was earlier interrogated by the police detectives attached to the State House Anti-corruption unit over missing funds meant for the construction of Akii-Bua memorial stadium. 

At Lira municipal council, both the town clerk Assy Abireebe and his deputy Patrick Ogweng and chief finance officer Patrick Awio, among others could hardly be found in their respective offices over the last three days. 

At Alebtong, Amolatar and Dokolo district councils, the situation was not any different. Simon Peter Ongom Sedu, the Amolatar district chairperson urged the State House team to continue probing saying it’s often difficult to get technical and accounting officers to account for public funds. 

Francis Ogema Awany, a local anti-corruption activist applauded the State House team for their efforts aimed at uprooting corruption from the region. He demanded for more investigations into the alleged corruption and embezzlement of public funds in key offices.

It is alleged that in the financial year 2018/2019 over Shs 46 million was requested for and paid out for road works on the roads from; Amolatar to Amai hospital, Odyak trading centre to Kitareba and another from Amolatar health centre IV to Abeja landing site. 

That money was meant for fuel and facilitation for Amolatar district staff to undertake works on the roads using available district equipment. However according to the auditor general's report, no work was done in the 1st and 2nd quarter, and the staff instead undertook the works using 3rd quarter release from Uganda Road Fund.

As such the Dokolo district engineer, internal auditor, chief financial officer and sector accountant (works) were all arrested and handed over to police for further interrogation. 

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd