26 March 2019

Uganda: Refugee Money Thieves Deserve Firing Squad - Onek

Kampala — The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek, has said officials in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), who are found culpable of plundering food, money and other relief aid for refugees, should be executed by firing squad.

"These people have built mansions and streets in outside countries at the expense of the common Ugandans and refugees. They should be put on firing squad," Mr Onek said while addressing delegates at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala yesterday. The meeting discussed jobs, livelihoods and self-reliance for refugees, returnees and the host communities.

Last year, Mr Onek directed the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Relief and Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms Christine Guwatudde Kintu, to interdict four officials suspected of abusing money and relief supplies for refugees pending conclusion of the investigations.

"We have not yet sent them to the firing squad. The problem is that these people have amassed a lot of wealth and are capable of manoeuvering their way through investigations, but we are almost done. Everyone will get justice," Mr Onek said.

Preliminary investigations found that the refugee numbers had been inflated.

Burundi refugees

Asked about the status of 1,400 Burundian refugees who were set to return home as communicated by the OPM last year, Mr Onek said their country later made a U-turn.

"I went and met their minister and we discussed that they would pick them in three weeks time. After the agreed time, She told me that the refugees should stay here because they had become Ugandans. I am calling upon other countries to respond to refugees like Uganda does," Mr Onek said.

In her communication at the meet, Ms Fathia Alwan, the IGAD director of Social Development Division, said the conference was to address issues that influence refugee acceptance and welfare among member countries.

"We are looking forward to removing policy barriers at national and regional levels, strengthening regional coordination, comprehensive action plan and creating a coherent framework to attract progress especially among the youth and children," Ms Alwan said.

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