• Dec 07, 2021 . 3 min Read
  • Residents ask leaders to end corruption

Residents ask leaders to end corruption
Arnest Tumwesige
Journalist @New Vision

The head of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) office in Acholi sub-region has hit back at those who ask for evidence from whistleblowers in their fight against corruption.

Geoffrey Matovu said it is wrong to ask for evidence from people who offer information as it is likely to discourage others from opening up.

Matovu said such information is only wanted in court after a thorough investigation has been done and deemed suitable to help in prosecution.

He, however, said at a preliminary level, the whistleblower can give highlights regarding the individual being reported and must be specific as opposed to generalising.

“When corruption is seen and heard, sometimes people do not want to report. It is better to report corruption in real time so that action is taken immediately,” he added.

Matovu was speaking in Gulu City during the stakeholders’ engagement meeting as part of the pre-event awareness creation against corruption organised by ActionAid through the resident district commissioners.

 

Anti-corruption awareness week

During the awareness week, residents trained by ActionAid as accountability champions and activists in Gulu, Amuru and Nwoya districts presented alleged corruption issues they discovered during their monitoring in the health, roads and education sectors.

The event was premised on the theme, Promoting active citizen participation in social accountability.

Rose Ataro, a resident of Mutema parish in Layima sub-county, Amuru district complained of bad roads that were leading to accidents, where she has also been a victim.

Ataro, who is also an accountability champion in the district, said if central Government is releasing funds for roads in the district and the funds are not utilised well, there is need for an audit so that those who are responsible are held to account.

Denis Oringo Komakech, another champion in Amuru, said under the ongoing Agricultural Cluster Development Project being implemented by the Government through the districts, some food stores that have been constructed are too small compared to the rest.

Komakech added that this is raising suspicion from the public on how variations in the sizes of the stores came about under the same project.

Florence Lalam, a woman councilor for Laroo-Pece North, said Gulu city is failing to access vital information regarding funding allocations for particular projects, which is failing their monitoring role.

Citing Layibi Techo Health Centre III that spent the funds for its second quarter within two days, Brenda Adokorach, an activist from Forum for Women in Democracy, requested the office of the regional IGG to investigate the matter.

She wondered how a health facility could spend sh6m in just two days, two days after receiving it.

Matovu promised to follow up the allegations, but also noted that it is possible to spend the money if the facility already had outstanding debts to clear.

 

Leaders acknowledge gaps

Michael Lakony, the Amuru district chairperson, commended the residents for picking interest in finding out how services are dispensed at local government level, but asked them to educate themselves about the operationalisation issues.

Lakony said for services to be offered, the process must start at planning level from the parish, sub county and later the district.

He asked activists to stop spreading rumours and causing anxiety amongst the community by raising baseless statements, but rather first seek the right information.

Lakony, however, said if Central Government does not improve local government funding, the people will continue casting blame on their leaders for poor service delivery.

He cited the roads sector in the district that has 498km and yet the release from the Central Government in the whole financial year is enough for only 90km.

“Local governments are engines for service delivery, but they only get 8% of the total budget approved by Parliament — of which 80% is meant for paying wages and only 20% is for service delivery,” he said.

Stephen Odong Latek, the Gulu Resident District Commissioner, said Central Government has done a lot of hardware development with a focus on ensuring effective service delivery.

Latek said their intention has been abused by the office bearers who for their selfish gains deny the people services such as in the health sector where drugs are stolen by some staffs causing a huge shortage.

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