• Sep 16, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • Data entrants apologise over theft of Covid funds

Data entrants Mikail, Munguchi and Fario appearing before MPs in Arua city. Photo by Maria Wamala
Maria Wamala
Photo Journalist @New Vision

Seven data entrants from Arua city have apologised for manipulating the system by entering their names as vulnerable persons to receive the sh100,000 COVID-19 relief cash. 

The data entrants, along with their supervisors — mayors, town clerks and their deputies — were appearing before the joint committee of the public accounts and local government chaired by MP Martin Ojara Mapenduzi.

The committee is investigating the mismanagement of the COVID-19 relief fund.

Mapenduzi said the committee was aware that some of those who erroneously benefited from the relief wanted to apologise before the committee.

Government allocated sh53b to support vulnerable Ugandans who were affected by the COVID-19 lockdown, however, the committee found out that half of the intended beneficiaries in Arua city did not benefit.

The committee heard that data entrants registered themselves as vulnerable persons. Adam Juma Mikail entered his name as a salon operator, Shamim Komuntale as a food vendor, John Henry as a driver and Donna Munguchi as a bar attendant.

John Dominick was registered as a conductor, Godfrey Ayimidri as a bar attendant and Ale Sandra Fario as a restaurant attendant.

Adam Juma Mikail admitted that although he received the money on his mobile phone, his friend uses his number.

The six confessed entering their names in the system as vulnerable persons in order to benefit.

They gave various reasons for their actions, which ranged from getting money for hospital bills and financing personal needs.

The committee also established that Arua city town agent Debo E Hassery registered a priest as a cobbler.

It was also established that government teachers and city councillors — Jamal Nassolo and Judith Letio — were registered as an artist and a food vendor, respectively. Mapenduzi said about 100 female boda boda cyclists benefited yet, according to the boda boda group chairperson, Salim Mawa, there are only two female boda boda cyclists in Arua city.

Arua city town clerk Paul Babida, however, said he did not verify the list brought to him due to limited time.

Mapenduzi faulted the Arua central town clerk, Isaac Wanje, his deputy and the mayor of Arua central division, Muzaid Khemis, for “not doing due diligence”.

“You abandoned your duties. You ran away from your assignment and assigned other people as data entrants, yet they were volunteers not directly employed by Arua city. They also ran away from that responsibility and instead benefited themselves. This was wrong,” he said.

Legislators unhappy

Napak Woman Member of Parliament Faith Nakut said: “Arua city allocation was lower compared to the population there. It’s bad that even this little was abused. It is a disappointment.”

Geoffrey Feta (MP Ayivu East) said their voters were angry with the manner in which the funds were managed.

“This matter has left us with a political burden back home. It will be hard to explain to the people why they registered and never benefited. It is going to be worse to know that the few slots allocated to Arua were manipulated by their leaders,” she said.

Arua city Central Division MP Jackson Atima-Lee appealed to the committee to make special recommendation to consider the 17,200 people who were left out.  

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