CHEQUES for over sh66m meant for classrooms construction in Gulu have been intercepted in Arua, just moments before being cashed at the Stanbic Bank branch there.
The cheques in the name of Arua Core Primary Teachers College (PTC) were reportedly deposited on May 12, 2003 by Stephen Droti, the accounts assistant in charge of the Teacher Development Management Systems (TDMS) at the college.
The cheques, No. 031063 worth sh34,623,068 and No. 031064 for sh32,023,648 were deposited on the college operational account No. 33 - 06467 - 9, sources told The New Vision.
â€œThe bank officials became suspicious because the cheques lacked the usual accompanying documents and on close scrutiny they were found to be drawn on the Schools Facilities Grant account for Gulu,â€ one of the sources said.
Francis Lubanga, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, confirmed he had heard of the incident but said he was verifying the information. He, however, admitted that Gulu had problems accounting for its School Facilities Grant (SFG) fund.
The district is yet to account for sh918m advanced for SFG between 1998 and last year. The amount excludes the sh238m on which Chief Administrative Officer, Achiel Owori, is being questioned.
The sources quoted Droti as saying the Gulu cheque was delivered to Arua by a senior security official. Droti has since been suspended and the Police had started investigating the matter.
Geoffrey Erach, the Regional Police Commander - North-western, confirmed they were investigating the circumstances under which the cheque left Gulu.
â€œSo far we are aware the cheque was issued by an official in Gulu. The connection on how it came to Arua PTC is a subject for investigation and that information is still confidential,â€ Erach said.
Stanbic Bank Spokesman Dan Nsibambi said information on their customers was confidential.
Arua CAO, Abdu Isodo, said he never saw the cheques although he also heard â€˜rumours about them.â€
â€œIn any case, the CAO does not handle Central Government cheques of that nature,â€ Isodo said.
â€œThe CAO is usually issued a credit advice by the bank that so much money has been credited to the district account for such and such a purpose. That is when he notifies the various units about the availability of funds and they prepare cheques. The cheques to the bank must even be accompanied by a letter from the CAO,â€ he said.
Gulu UPE cheques intercepted in Arua