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 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.