13 February 2018

Uganda: Corrupt Officials Sell Free Aid to Refugees

Kampala — UGANDA is investigating allegations of corruption and misconduct by officials involved in refugee assistance.

It is alleged officials have faked documents on delivery of food assistance and demanded that refugees pay bribes to access various services that should be free of cost.

Investigations led by Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, came after the United Nations High commissioner for Refugees and World Food Programme blew the whistle on corrupt conduct by distribution personnel.

In Uganda, the Office of the Prime Minister leads the overall refugee response in partnership with UNHCR.

Valentin Tapsoba, Director of UNHCR's Regional Bureau for Africa, welcome the steps taken to investigate the above-mentioned allegations.

"UNHCR takes all allegations of corruption, fraud and misconduct very seriously. Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those involved in refugee response causes great harm to the people we care for and erodes public confidence and donor trust," said Tapsoba.

The official said corruption was a disservice to the globally-renowned model policies of Uganda, a country hosting more than a million refugees.

Uganda operates an open border policy and allows refugees to enjoy similar rights to those enjoyed by its own citizens.

It provides access to social services and allocates land for shelter and agriculture.

Uganda currently hosts over 1,4 million refugees from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somali and South Sudan among other countries.

More than 1 million refugees entered Uganda in the past 18 months, largely due to the escalating conflict in South Sudan.

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