Councilors petition President Museveni over embezzled funds

Councilors petition President Museveni over embezzled funds
The Amolatar delegation of local leaders led by the former LCV Vice Chairperson Geoffrey Ocen meeting the Speaker of Parliament on Friday last week

Local leaders from Amolatar district have petitioned President Yoweri Museveni to intervene into the alleged embezzlement of over Shillings 1.5 billion by civil servants led by the Chief Administrative Officer, Peter Epaju.

The petitioners include 13 LC V Councilors, five LC III Chairpersons, the Kyoga County Member of Parliament, Anthony Okello and Woman MP, Doreen Amule.

The group led by the former Amolatar LC V Vice Chairperson, Geoffrey Ocen, accuses the CAO, Peter Epaju and LC V chairperson Simon Peter Ongom of connivance, which has led to the loss of over Shillings 1.5 billion.

The money was meant to finance activities in the health, works and education sectors in the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 financial years.

According to Ocen, their pleas to the Finance, Planning and Economic Development and Local Government Ministries to intervene haven’t yielded results.

The group met the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga on Friday last week demanding for her intervention and to help them to connect them to the president.

“Parliament should also suspend transfer of funds to Amolatar until a new CAO is deployed. We also want the Ministry of Finance and that of Local Government to stop the CAO from warranting or accessing the current funds,” said Ocen.

In her response, Kadaga commended the complainants for their vigilance in the fight against corruption. “It is regrettable that all these things have been happening. We shall help you so that Amolatar does not sink,” said Kadaga.

On Monday, the civil servants reacted to the accusations by staging a sit down strike to protest what they termed as political interference by the elected leaders. Joel Okao Tema, the Amolatar District Information Officer, says the civil servants indeed laid down their tools in protest against what they see as unprincipled political fights against the CAO and heads of department.

Okao says the political interference is frustrating delivery of services to residents, adding that the civil servants are targeted by politicians for no good reasons.

He says the civil servants have given the political leaders up to Friday this week to stop interfering in their work or else they mobilise their colleagues to shut down services across the district with effect from Monday next week.

Both the CAO, Peter Epaju and LC V chairperson Simon Peter Ongom who are accused of connivance leading to the loss of over Shillings 1.5 billion have denied any wrong doing, saying the accusations are only meant to tarnish the image of the district.