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Two arrested, offices closed by Anti-Corruption unit in Mbarara

By Adolf Ayoreka

Added 5th March 2019 09:15 AM

The anti-corruption unit stormed the municipal offices following concerns raised by whistle blowers regarding misappropriation of funds.

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Commercial officer James Agaba (Middle) being grilled by Unit's detectives and technical officers in the council hall. Photo by Adolf Ayoreka.

The anti-corruption unit stormed the municipal offices following concerns raised by whistle blowers regarding misappropriation of funds.

CRIME

MBARARA - Fear and tension gripped Mbarara Municipal officials, Monday evening, as the state house anti-corruption unit arrested two municipality officials for poor accountability of government funds.

The arrested include Edward Lwanga the Mbarara Municipal Council Town clerk and Richard Kerere, the Chief Finance officer.

James Agaba, the municipal commercial officer narrowly escaped from the police detectives but was asked to report to the unit in Kampala.

The anti-corruption unit stormed the municipal offices following concerns raised by whistle blowers regarding misappropriation of funds on Koranorya road, misuse of the over sh900,000 paid by 250 Mbarara shopping market traders for renovations which were not done, irregularities in awarding the Mbarara taxi park tender, mishandling of over sh100m for capacity building under USMID project, encroachment on Kakyera land,  Kenkombe land in Kakoba and an open space plot in the heart on Mbarara town.

The municipal officials were asked to present various documents ranging from council minutes, payment vouchers and receipts for three financial years.

Edgar Atwine the municipal procurement officer, Carol Warugaba the physical planner, Moses Mwesigwa the internal auditor and Municipal Engineer only identified as Sabath were asked to record police statements.


Israel Ochwo the Unit’s legal officer noted that among the documents presented, some were found not satisfactory enough to explain the financial discrepancies especially on capacity building funds, information pertaining money for traders in Mbarara shopping market, and that some payment vouchers were deliberately removed.

“The explanation given to us has been found totally different from the information we have, and even the documents presented some are forged but we couldn’t reject them, therefore we shall need to go with some officers to shade more light on these discrepancies, we shall go with the town clerk since he is the accounting officer, and the CFO” Israel said.

Later, the team asked the commercial officer to join the arrested suspects but he had not returned from where he was sent to look for the missing documents.

The officials received Sh414,249,511 as road fund for batch one of Koranorya road construction, however, the submitted documents show that only Sh318m was used and the missing funds were unaccounted for.

Emmy Kateera the Mbarara deputy RDC who over saw the exercise on behalf of government asked the unit not to be compromised like other agencies but rather to serve diligently saying that the public has their full trust to fight corruption in Uganda.

“Make sure you gather enough evidence, let these officers provide information as the team requests it, let whoever is indicted be charged basing on evidence because things are not okay in Mbarara. We have to accept, there are some roads which were mentioned that were done but when you reach there, you find quarter of the worker done” Kateera said.

He added that Mbarara might lose the city status if corruption is not tackled.

Offices of the district clerk to council and the CAO were closed and the respective officials barred from accessing them since they are being investigated.

This is the second time the anti-corruption unit is storming Mbarara offices. Two weeks back, the same team stormed the district office and arrested the Chief Administrative Officer, Felix Esoku Cuthbert, Godliver Nayebare the senior land Management officer for Mbarara district, Aggrey Atukwasa the deputy Municipal Engineer, Cyril Tuhame the district planner, Johnson Tusimireyo the Project manager of satellite city project, Emma Himbisa the staff surveyor and MP Charles Ngabirano who was asked to report to the unit by himself but did not.

Felix Esoku Cuthbert, Emmanuel Himbisa, Godlive Nayebare and Rosalia Karuhanga were arraigned before the anti- corruption court in Kololo, Kampala, before they were released on bail last Friday.

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