MBARARA – Fear and tension gripped Mbarara Municipal officials on Monday, March 4 when the State House Anti-Corruption Unit arrested two officials over poor accountability of government funds.
Those arrested are Mr. Edward Lwanga, the Town Clerk of Mbarara Municipal Council, and Mr. Richard Kerere, the Chief Finance Officer. Mr. James Agaba, the Municipal Commercial Officer narrowly escaped from the police detectives but was asked to report to the Unit in Kampala as soon as possible.
This is the second time the Unit is storming Mbarara offices. Just a fortnight ago, the same team stormed the district office and arrested the Chief Administrative Officer Felix Esoku Cuthbert, and other officers. However, the CAO and three others were released on bail last Friday.
On Monday, March 4, the same team from State House again stormed the Municipal offices to find out about the misappropriation of funds on Koranorya Road, and claims of UGX900,000 paid by 250 traders each for renovations of the Mbarara market. They also wanted to find the truth in irregularities in awarding Mbarara Taxi Park tender, the UGX100m for capacity building under USMID project, encroachment on Kakyera land, Kenkombe land and about the open space plot opposite Stanbic Bank in the heart on Mbarara Town.
The team engaged various heads of department who were asked to present various documents ranging from council minutes, payment vouchers and receipts for three financial years. At the end of the engagement at around 7 pm, a number of officials were asked to record police.
However, after the engagement, Israel Ochwo the Unit’s legal officer noted that among the documents that were presented, some were not satisfactory enough to explain the financial discrepancies in the municipality.
“The explanation given to us has been found totally different from the information we have. Some of the documents presented are forged but we could not reject them. We shall need to go with some officers to shade more light on these discrepancies,” Mr. Ochwo said.
The deputy RDC Mbarara, Mr. Emmy Kateera, who oversaw the exercise on behalf of the government, asked the Unit not to be compromised like other agencies.
“Make sure you gather enough evidence. Let these officers provide information, and let whoever is indicted to be charged based on evidence,” Mr. Kateera said.
He added that Mbarara might lose out a city status if corruption is not challenged and resolved.