Masaka top officials charged with embezzlement

By Sania Babirye

Two officials of Masaka Municipal council including; principal Treasurer Namuleme Saudah; together with the Senior Accounts Assistant-Sserubiri David Kavuma have been charged with the embezzlement of 308,760,871 Million Shillings before the Anti-corruption court .

Court presided over by chief magistrate Pamella Lamunu has heard that by virtue of their employment at Masaka Town in Masaka District; Namuleme and Sserubiri had access to the said money and stole it between 1st/January/2016 and this year 2020.

However, the pair has denied the charges and each has been ordered to pay an eight million shillings cash bail with orders that they return to court on 6th/January/2021 as investigations continue.

Late coming officials halted from accessing offices at Kabale District headquarters

By Moses Kidandi
Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the Kabale District LC5 Chairman has launched an operation aimed at cracking down laziness  and late-coming among  district workers.
The operation is targeting workers at the district court and Director of Public Prosecution Office.
Keihwa on Wednesday camped at the District Headquarters entrace on Makanga hill and sent away all workers who arrived after 8:00 a.m.
Some officers were seen giving excuses on why they were late, but the district chairman turned them away.
Keihwa said he had observed that most staff came to office late, which interrupted government business and hampered public service for which they are paid.
He defended his move saying it was in line with the Civil Servants Standing  Orders,  which stipulate that officers should report for work every working day at exactly 8:00 am and leave for lunch at 12:45 pm and in the afternoon return in office at exactly 2:00pm up to 5:00 pm.
According to the district chairman, only 58 out of the 150 officers at the district offices were in office by 8am.

Osege set to investigate corrupt top government officials

By Wasswa Deo
The chairperson of public accounts committee in parliament , Angelina Osege says they will not stop to investigate top government officials who are culprits of corruption.
Osege who was speaking during the anti corruption campaign in Katakwi district organised by Action Aid Uganda and democratic governance facility noted that despite doing risky job, She is not intimidated and doesn’t need bodyguards.
She also warns local government officials especially chief administrative officers who she says connive with some officials in the ministry of finance. She adds that that they work together to complicate the process of  accessing  funds which they end up sharing.
Osege added that local council leaders also have tendency of diverting funds to other projects where they’re promised a tip.
Philip Kabuye, the team leader of the anti corruption campaign says they have decided to involve masses especially in local communities because they are the most vulnerable when it comes to corruption.

Police arrest two officials for stealing the Arua hospital autoclave

Police are holding two officials from Arua Regional Referral Hospital over theft of an autoclave machine. The device is used to sterilize and kill microorganisms in laboratory instruments, glassware and medical equipment.

The arrested officials include an Assistant Procurement Officer, Robert Dombo and the hospital Driver Nathan Oluka, who was found selling the machine within Arua municipality. Oluka later told police that he was working under the instructions of the Assistant Procurement Officer.

Josephine Angucia, the regional police spokesperson for the West Nile region says police has opened wider investigations into thefts of equipment at Arua Regional Referral Hospital. She says prior to the latest incidence, the hospital management had reported theft of hospital scrap and a number of other items.

Angucia says that the thefts seem to be the work of an organized racked within the hospital. She adds that one of the arrested individuals named a few other officers with whom they connive to steal government property.

Arua regional referral hospital has been cast in bad light in recent times. Last year in October, 14 children reportedly died due to lack of oxygen in the hospital.

A similar incident resurfaced on New Year day 2017 when a baby suffocated because the hospital lacked oxygen and the only expert who should have attended to patients was not available at the time.

Recent reports indicated that a number of patients died at the operating theatre because of power outages. However, URN was not able to independently verify the allegations.

Six held over missing accountability of municipal infrastructure development money in Fort Portal

Six officials of Fort Portal Municipal Council have recorded statements at the central police station after failing to answer queries raised in the 2013/2014 Auditor General’s report.

The officials were held this morning on the orders of the Local Government Accounts Committee of Parliament.

Members of the Committee, who are currently in Kabarole district, summoned the six municipal council officials to provide accountability for more than one billion Shillings meant for the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development -USMID project.

The officials are the Town Clerk Paul Omoko, Acting Principal Treasurer Diana Kamwenge, Municipal Engineer Herbert Kayihura, the focal person USMID project, Alice Komuntaro, Municipal Law Enforcement officer Roger Mulindwa and Procurement Officer Mwajuma Kobusinge.

USMID is a World Bank initiative designed to improve performance of selected Local Governments (LGs) to improve urban service delivery.

The legislators led by their chairperson, Aswa County MP Regan Okumu, put to task the officials to explain how the funds were used. Quoting the 2013/2014 Auditor General’s report, Okumu told the officials the funds were not put to proper use. He noted that some of the roads in the municipality that were supposed to be worked on under the project remain in a bad state.

Okumu also questioned the appointment of Komuntaro as the project’s focal person and yet she lacked the qualifications.

The officials failed to answer any of the questions put to them by the legislators.

Okumu warned them that he will hand them over to the police if they remain quiet.

They however kept their silence forcing Okumu to ask police officers to take them to Fort Portal Police Station and record statements.

By the time of filing the story, the officials were still at the police station.

In 2012, Fort Portal Municipality failed to utilise 3.2 billion Shillings meant for the USMID project.

The first phase of the project was supposed to start in 2012, but no works had started, despite the availability of the funds. Some of the key projects that were meant to be worked on include the expansion and tarmacking of roads, renovation of the Bus Park, improving the drainage system and construction of more markets in the three municipal divisions, among other things.

Municipal officials argued then that the funds could not be utilised because the two contractors who had been selected to do construction works refused to start work under unclear circumstances.