BY Moses Mulondo
Members of Parliament from Acholi region have called for a thorough forensic audit of all programs meant for the rehabilitation of Northern Uganda arguing that colossal sums of money has been stolen over the years.
Addressing journalists at Parliament, the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) declared a war which they said would cease after all the culprits who have stolen money meant for improving the social-economic welfare of the Northern Uganda people whose livelihood was destroyed by the LRA insurgency.
“Government should conduct a forensic and comprehensive audit of the PRDP, NUSAF I & II and all other government and donor programmes and projects meant for the Greater North in the Office of the Prime Minister,” they requested in their statement which was read by the group chairperson Lowelia Oketayot, the woman MP for Pader.
Dressed in black shirts as a symbol of lamentation, the angrily MPs demanded that the government and the Chief Justice issue a directive that the trials of the OPM scam suspects be taken to Northern Uganda just as the war crimes tribunal was shifted to Gulu in the case of LRA’s Kwotelo.
Regarding the government move to return sh11b to the donors as compensation for what was stolen, the Acholi MPs demanded that government should urgently get money to compensate the people of Northern and Eastern Uganda for whom the money was meant.
“We are also appealing to the donor community not to stop aid to the Northern region as this will only bring more suffering to the poor people, but rather find mechanisms of committing the monies to the affected areas directly and not through the central government,” the MPs said in their statement.
They requested the donor community to impose a travel ban on all implicated corrupt officials and their families arguing that the culprits are worse than the LRA’s Joseph Konyi whose evil actions have affected millions of people.
Calling for expeditious prosecution of all the culprits, the Acholi MPs said, “We also insist that the government should desist from applying selective prosecution. If justice must be served; it must be served to all the guilty without exception.”
The MPs said they believe that the illicit actions by the culprits of the OPM scam are crimes against humanity as they adversely affect lives of so many people.
“We are consulting our colleagues in Diaspora with the hope of opening cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague to the extent that illicit actions by the likes of Geoffrey Kazinda and others still at large are investigated in relation to the millions who lost their lives because of their actions,” the MPs said.
The announced that they would mobilize Acholi leaders to organize peaceful demonstrations in all cities in Diaspora, in Kampala and all districts in Acholi beginning with a consultative rally in Gulu town on Saturday (February 23, 2013).