26 November 2012

Uganda: Govt Officials Quizzed Over Sh1.5 Billion Bududa IDP Funds

The Police are investigating a case where six officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) have been linked to the embezzlement of sh1.5 billion. The funds were meant for construction of homes for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Bulucheke and Bukalasi in Bududa district.

In the aftermath of the devastating March 2010 Bududa landslides, the Government relocated 5,000 people to Kiryandongo in western Uganda. The New Vision has learnt that the Government unearthed suspected fraud in the projects meant for the Bududa IDPs.

Several people from the OPM including the principal disaster management officer, Cyprian Dhikusoka and his assistants Emmanuel Oketcho, Immaculate Nyangoma and Rachael Nakiwege were last week summoned by the Police over allegations of forgery, embezzlement, abuse of office, causing financial loss and conspiracy to defraud.

Two businessmen, Tahkker Irani, a fuel station boss and Parbat Hikari, an owner of a stationery business, were also interrogated. The suspects recorded statements and were released on Police bond. They are expected to return to the Police today.

Police detectives and Dhikusoka last week travelled to Kiryandongo where the Bududa resettlement project is located.

The CIID director, Grace Akullo, said they (Police) wanted toestablish the amount of money used and the number of houses constructed. "The mission was to verify if the quotations and accountabilities match with the construction works in Kiryandongo," she said.

Akullo also revealed that the Police had also summoned the camp commandant, Robert Turyamwebaza, over allegations of selling plots of land to victims at sh400, 000 each. In a telephone interview, the chairman of the IDPs, Julius Weleka, said only100 of the 600 promised houses had been constructed on the 10 square mile land for the 5,000 victims. "Some of the structures are not even complete. Some houses have no doors," Weleka said. The Bududa mudslide victims were relocated to Kiryandongo on October 6 2010.

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