By Jay Tumwesige
The State House Anti-corruption Unit has started investigating Kabarole district local government officials over several cases of corruption which were reported against them.
Recently during a meeting with district officials at the district headquarters in Kitumba, Fr. Simon Lokodo, the state minister for Ethics and Integrity, said that he had led a team of officials from the State House Anti-corruption Unit, the Inspectorate of Government and office of the Auditor General to carry out comprehensive investigations against the district officials who have been implicated in corruption scandals.
Among those being investigated is Smart Bwango, the district secretary for the land board, who is alleged to have been paying members of the land board irregularly.
Lokodo said that they were in receipt of complaints and allegations that members of the land board have not been sitting regularly.
“A general file of inquiry will be opened against the secretary land board and a statement will be recorded from the complainants. I’m shocked by the high levels of corruption in Kabarole. Government is investing a lot of money but people are being denied services; that’s very bad. All the responsible officers will be brought to book,” Lokodo said.
Lokodo added that they were also investigating a water project in Karambi were it is alleged that between 2014 and 2015 the district sourced for a contractor to work on a water gravity flow scheme and Shs25M was paid to the contractor but no work was done.
“We are also investigating the mismanagement of government property by district officials. Recently some of them were implicated in theft of spare parts from the road construction unit which were given to the district by government,” Lokodo added.
However, Bwango denied the allegations and said that he was handling the affairs of the district land board in accordance with the law.
“At times we get less money from the central government yet we have to transact business. We have been paying them in accordance with the law and I have not done any wrong,” Bwango said.
Lokodo also said that they were investigating Patrick Bamanyisa, the town clerk for Fort Portal municipality over several cases.
“I’m directing the Regional Police Commander to ensure that the Town Clerk is arrested on sight. I am told he is out of the district but he must be arrested and prosecuted,” Lokodo said.
He said that they got several complaints alleging that the Town Clerk is corrupt and has exhibited unethical conduct while executing his duties.
Sylvia Kihunde, a senior accounts officer at Fort Portal municipal council, accused the Town Clerk of running council affairs as if he was running his family affairs.
“There is a lot of corruption in Fort Portal municipality and when some of the officers try to raise the issues they isolate us and fabricate charges against us in order to keep us out of our offices as they swindle government money,” Kihunde said.
“Considering the nature of his work and the sensitivity of transactions handled by his office, and bearing in mind that he is the custodian of the records, he has continued to frustrate some of the officials and continues to appoint people without qualifications in some offices which is against the law,” Kihunde added.
Herbert Mugisa, the chairman for South Division, told the Anti-corruption Unit that in Fort Portal municipality tenders are being awarded irregularly.
“We have some tenderers who have defaulted Council money but are still in business. They only change the name of the company and get more tenders and as a result Council has lost a lot of revenue,” Mugisa said.