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Gulu RDC orders arrest of 11 councillors over closure of Town Clerk office

Gulu RDC Maj Santos Okot Lapolo has ordered the arrest of 11 Municipal councillors who locked up the office of the town clerk over corruption. (PML Daily Photo)

GULU – The Resident District Commissioner of Gulu district Maj Santos Okot Lapolo Thursday directed the District Police Commander to cause the arrest of 11 Gulu Municipal councillors for allegedly locking up the office of the town clerk.

The councillors who claimed the town clerk is corrupt on Thursday at about 3:00 am stormed the office of Mr Francis Barabanawe, the Gulu Municipal Town Clerk and ordered his secretary to lock the office.

The group later marched her to Gulu Central Police Station and ordered her to hand over the office keys to the police.

The councillors also accused the town clerk of forgery of documents.

Major Lapolo said the action of the councilors is criminal. “What happened today is criminal and I have directed the District Police Commander to arrest those who closed the office and subject them to the [processes of the] law”

The councillors include; Richard Komakech Oketayot of Bardege parish, Susan Acan youth representative, Geoffrey Komakech Oginga of Tegwana, Lucy Olanya of Queen Parish, and Sam Kinyera of Techo.

Others are: Amidi Ocama of Kasubi, Peter Langwen of Library parish, Paska Akello Mercy of Vanguard, Doreen Lubwoyo of Bardege, Deogratius Ocaya of Pawel and Robert Komakech of Kanyagoga parish.

Recently the councillors reported the Town Clerk, Gulu Municipal Council Speaker, Peter Owera Onen and clerk to the council to court for forging council minutes as evident before Gulu Magistrate’s court.

In addition three of the councillors last month dragged the council to court for pushing them off the standing committee of the council before their term of office had expired.

On Monday the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) dropped the case of forgery of documents against Mr Barabanawe, Mr Okwera and the Clerk to council due to lack of evidence.

Councillors lock up Gulu Town Clerk Office over corruption claims. They have been arrested on the orders of district RDC. (PML Daily Photo)

The aggrieved councilors are demanding that the municipal council accounts for the local revenues collected since most of the development activities in the district are being funded by donors. According to them, for several months the local revenues have not been put to use which has led to breaking down of the grader and the ambulance.

Mayor, George Labeja condemned the incident and said they will not tolerate such dubious behaviour from the councillors, whom he described as drunkards who continue disturbing the development of the municipality seeking city status.

He wondered why the said councillors are always loitering around the offices to cause chaos yet they are not permanent staff.

Labeja noted that Gulu Municipality spent over shs65m of local revenue to compensate the Moslem community in Gulu town in order to relocate the old cemetery located at Nakasero sub-ward in Pece division.

He advised the councilors to avoid being used to fight political wars between him and division chairpersons eyeing his seat in the 2021 elections.

Mr Barabanawe wondered why the councillors he described as cunning disturb him over baseless allegations of corruption yet his office has never been mentioned in corruption for the several times the Auditor General has conducted its auditing.

Five years ago, the Gulu Municipality councillors were paid a gross salary of Shs400, 000 but now each receives Shg700, 000 according to Mr Barabanawe.

He said GMC receives money from local revenue collection, government funds, and donor funds which are put into implementation of activities after council approval and normally audited by the Auditor General.

“If the councillors have evidence they should report to the IGG, Police and [other] responsible authorities,” Barabanawe said.

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