Minister Ogwang orders for arrest of corrupt district officials

KIKUUBE – Several civil servants in Kikuube district were made to sweat as the Minister of State for Economic Monitoring, Peter Ogwang questioned them for allegedly messing up several government projects.

Ogwang together with Jenipher Kacha Namuyangu, the State Minister for Bunyoro Affairs stormed Kikuube district and had an engagement with the district leaders and civil servants before moving to the field to check on the projects.

The ministers were shocked by the corruption tendencies that crippled World Bank-funded projects, Development Response to Displacement Impact Projects [DRDIP], Agriculture Cluster Development Projects [ACDP], and Covid19 funds among others mismanaged, swindled, or underutilized.

This has resulted in shoddy work and in other extreme cases, no work done at all.

This forced the Minister to direct Kikuube District Police Commander [DPC], Wilson Nabangi to arrest and get statements from the implicated officials.

The officials include; the District Engineer, Emma Arinaitwe, Water Engineer, Hillary Agondeze, and the former Chief Administrative Officer [CAO]Robert Murondo, Nicolas Kwikiriza, the District Health Officer [DHO], Flavia Nabwire, the Officer in Charge of DRDIP projects, Julian Kusiima among others.

Ogwang ordered that Murondo be returned from Kariro district, where is currently working to Kikuube district to make a statement with police for allegedly diverting startup funds worth Shs1.2 billion.

It is alleged in 2018, Kikuube district received Shs 1.2 billion from the Ministry of Local Government to construct the district administration block and equip it with furniture but the money was diverted to other things which were not in the guideline.

According to the information the money was used to buy 10 acres of land at a cost of Shs270 million, two double cabin vehicles at the cost of Shs400 million, construction of police structures at cost of Shs80million and also painting of the former Kiziramfumbi Sub County headquarters, that are now being used to house the district headquarters at cost of Shs150 million.

Meanwhile, Emma Arinaitwe was also ordered to make statements at police over his failure to supervise work on several projects such as the construction roads like Kabwoya- Rwetahi road, which was found with several concerns.

According to the findings, the road which cost Shs70 million was only 9.5 kilometres but in the documents, the road was supposed to be 11 kilometres.

In the document, the road was supposed to be 7metres wide but on ground it was only 5.4 metres.

This road was meant to have a murram, according to the Bill of Quantities [BOQ] but on ground, the murram was missing yet the documents indicated that it was completed and commissioned.

Engineer Arinaitwe and Julian Kusiima were questioned about the Shs1.8 billion Nyairongo Seed Project.

This is after the ministers found the project incomplete with several defects, yet the contractor, Quick Builder Construction Company was paid 95 percent of the money.

The other official who is on the spot is the Water Engineer, Hillary Agondeze who is being investigated for doing shoddy work on the Kigozi shallow well at a cost of Shs5million in Kiziranfumbi town council.

This well was completed in June 2021 but it has no flowing water and residents are said to have provided materials for its construction although the government had released funds for its construction.

The District Health Officer [DHO], Nicholas Kwikiriza was also on the spot after allegedly failing to pay the Village Health Teams [VHTs] per village Shs300, 000 as the government had allocated and directed.

Kwikiriza was accused of not following the guideline as he paid the VHTs per month, yet the money is supposed to be paid once. It was discovered that Kwikiriza is keeping the money in a bank with the intention to accumulate interest.

Ministers Ogwang and Namuyangu warned police against mismanaging the files of the officers, adding that the officers must be produced in court to answer the charges of corruption and neglect of their duties.

He noted that these officers have made the government lose a lot of money that would help to deliver services to local people.

Minister Ogwang, also directed forensic audit in the implementation of DRDIP project in Bunyoro region, adding that the project has a lot of issues.

“I will be a bad person to the corrupt but will be a good person to those who want this country to develop. I want to challenge you the corrupt that your days are numbered. You either accept to do what is within the law of the country in line with the public finance management act or resign,” said Ogwang.

Minister Namuyangu, commended Minister Ogwang on the exercise; adding that there are a lot of rots in all districts in the region that needs to be addressed and promised to continue following up on the issues.

Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner [RDC], and Peter Banura, the Kikuube District LCV boss said that such monitoring exercises help the government to realize gaps in service delivery, corruption and improves service delivery.

They appealed to the central government to at least have such kind of exercise of monitoring every financial year to complement the district’s efforts in supervising and monitoring government projects to ensure good service delivery.

Steven Asera Itaza, MP Buhaguzi East constituency, expressed concern that the government has lost billions of shillings to corrupt officials because district leaders are undermined by corrupt officials and called on the government to continue supporting district leaders to oversee service delivery.

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