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Nebbi CAO detained over appearing drunk before PAC

By Hafiz Bakhit, Prossy Nankanja

Added 10th May 2019 11:18 AM

The committee chaired by Agago Woman Member of Parliament, Judith Akello noticed Okaka’s strange ways when he was ordered to undertake an oath

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Parliament Police CID officer leads Nebbi district local government CAO, Geoffrey Okaka to Arua Central Police Station on May0 9, 2019. Hafiz Bakhit and Nankanja Prossy

The committee chaired by Agago Woman Member of Parliament, Judith Akello noticed Okaka’s strange ways when he was ordered to undertake an oath

ARUA - Nebbi district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Geoffrey Okaka has been detained at Arua Central Police Station for allegedly showing up drunk before Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) on local Government.

Trouble started after the CAO struggled to respond to a query on how sh260m was spent on routine manual and mechanized road maintenance under Uganda Road Fund in the 2014/2015 financial year. This prompted the members of the committee to suspect that he was acting under the influence of Alcohol.

The committee chaired by Agago Woman Member of Parliament, Judith Akello noticed Okaka’s strange ways when he was ordered to undertake an oath and later on started making uncoordinated statements in response to queries

“Why are you giving us uncoordinated responses with figures that are not adding up? Are you really sober” charged Akello, who chaired the session.

Before ordering his arrest, Okaka started arguing that he was sober prompting the Chairperson of the committee to threaten to call the police to bring a breathalyzer to test the officer’s alcohol level.

No sooner had the Chairperson threatened to bring a breathalyzer than the CAO started apologizing.

His pleas fell into deaf ears of the committee that called the Police to take him under custody.   

Efforts by the New Vision to reach out to the West Nile region Police spokesperson, Josephine Angucia for a comment were futile.

Meanwhile, the committee in a separate sitting on May 9, 2019, ordered the arrest and investigation of Arua Municipal engineer and his assistant over improper accountability of road funds allocated to the municipality for the year that ended  June 30, 2015.

The two municipal engineers were consequently detained and later on released on Police bond as investigations continue.

The audit report pointed out that the Municipal engineers Herbert Olea and Anthony Dradria did not properly account l for sh99m meant for the construction of staff lane under the Uganda National Road Fund.

Emmanuel Ongiertho Obonyo, the Member of Parliament of Jonam County Pakwach district who chaired the session said many Road maintenance projects in Arua Municipality have been messed up.

The detention of Arua Municipality engineers and Nebbi CAO came after the detention of Ludara Sub County Chairperson in Koboko, David Otokira Afayo, who appeared before another team spearheaded by the Emmanuel Ongyertho Obonyo, MP for Jonam County in Pakwach district on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

The sub-county Chairperson was handed over to police over non-remittance of about sh19m to the lower local councils. 

Afayo argued that he was constrained by budget and overwhelmed by the expenditures of the sub-county, which prompted him to requested the council to reallocate the funds for other activities.

The Committee faulted him for acting as an individual and bending the law leading to his detention.

On the same day, the Public Accounts Committee on Local Government also tasked the recently appointed CAO of Yumbe district, Jalwin Suliman to help recover sh11.5 m that was mismanaged under the road fund within three months.

This follows a report that the district planned to undertake works on the 75km road at an estimated cost of about sh63.7m in routine mechanized maintenance. However, only 58.1km of the road was actually undertaken at a cost of about sh60.9m that generated a query about the remaining 16.9km of road.

More accounting officers from the West Nile districts are yet to appear before the committee that is camped in Arua this week. 

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