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Lira officials go into hiding as State House Anti-Corruption Unit bites

Anti-corruption Unit in the Office of the President led by Lt Col Edith Nakalema swang in action with Lira interdicted officials going into hiding (FILE PHOTO)

LIRA – Panic has gripped officials in Lira after the State House Anti-Corruption Unit on Monday camped in the district, arrested the District Internal Security Officer (DISO), Mr Gilbert Winyi, and ordered several others to record statements with police.

The Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema, arrested Mr Winyi on allegations of receiving bribe worth UGX100 million in order to save a senior government official who had been accused of embezzling over UGX300 million.

The other officials, such as Mr Mike Okidi, the district Internal Auditor, Lira Municipal Council assistant engineer Sarah Adongo, Ayago Parish councillor Fred Minyang, and Lira Municipal engineer, Mr Fred Owiny went into hiding on realizing that they would be arrested.

The town clerk, Mr Assy Abirebe, and his deputy Patrick Ogweng were ordered to record statements at Lira Central Police Station and police CIID headquarters to aid investigations.

Col Nakalema’s investigation followed complaints by the whistleblowers, who called her office through the toll-free line, others submitted documents to her office citing too many cases of corruption in the two administrative units.

The corruption scandals reported to her office included, among others, air supply of 125 bags of cement and lime which was reported to police under CRB 258/2018 but the file was closed.

Others included unjustified Shs36 million allegedly withdrawn from Lira Municipal Council account by Colorado Investment Limited, with court order but the money was allegedly shared by Lira Municipal Council officials and irregular award of contract of Coronation Park to Saving Grace Primary School.

However, the town clerk Abireebe, while responding to the issues said the cement and lime were brought but the assistant engineer, Ms Sarah Adongo, ordered that the cement be taken back illegally. Ms Adongo was later interdicted but the charges against her were withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the town clerk said.

On the issue of irregular contract of Coronation Park, Mr Abireebe said he was not aware of the whole saga.

“I have since advised the Council that the process of this irregular, the whole transaction should be terminated and the procurement process should be followed. I have put that in writing and the team can verify my position on the matter,” the town clerk told the investigating team.

However, Col Nakalema tasked the mayor Mike Ogwang Veve, town clerk, his deputy Patrick Ogweng, municipal procurement officer, LC3 Central Division, Mr Emmy Joe Odongo, physical planner, and the assistant town clerk of Central Division to avail record statement with police. She cautioned them never to disappear if they don’t want any problem.

Col Nakalema further assured people that the former District Police Commander of Lira, Mr Joel Tubanone, who is currently on duty in Mayuge District, would be arrested for allegedly arresting a group of National Resistance Movement (NRM) cadres who were demonstrating against corruption in Lira town last year.

“Let me request you very senior leaders that you cooperate and give more information to CIID. I, however, want to task the CIID and DPC of this area to look for Minyang Fred and arrest him and he should be brought to CIID headquarters because he has been around but decided to avoid this meeting,” Col Nakalema ordered.

On Wednesday, the team was at Dokolo District Council hall to probe officials from Amolatar and Dokolo districts accused of mismanaging public resources.

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