Igg To Investigate Relief Supply For Past 2 Years

Igg to investigate relief supply for past 2 years
Appeared in Daily Monitoron 01 Mar 2023

The Inspectorate of Government has started investigations into the operations of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and its alleged mismanagement of relief items over the past two years.

The inquiries started this week with the appointment of a six-member committee chaired by Mr Justus Kaleebi, the manager for the Ombudsman’s affairs.

Ms Beti Kamya, the Inspector General of Government, said the committee will look into humanitarian and emergency procurements by the OPM for refugees and disaster-affected persons since 2021.

The inquiries will also cover current claims of corruption and mismanagement in procurement of iron sheets and goats to address the plight of Karimojong distressed by hunger, cattle rustling and violent crimes.

The allegations snowballed following preliminary findings by State House Anti-Corruption Unit that consignments of substantial relief food, roofing materials and animals were either diverted to political supervisors, including ministers, and or under-supplied.

Parliament’s Presidential and Foreign Affairs Committee, which began separate inquiries into the matter on Monday, heard from Karamoja leaders that only 1,000 of an expected consignment of 100,000 iron sheets had been supplied to the region despite Parliament approval of billions of shillings for the intervention.

The leaders, among them MPs and local government officials, told the committee chaired by Adjumani District Woman MP Jesca Ababiku that the goats supplied were bought at inflated prices, costing Shs25b, many arrived sick and unvaccinated and died, while each beneficiary got fewer than the 16 animals they had been promised.

In an interview yesterday, Ms Kamya told this newspaper that her team will examine these and other allegations.

She said her office had received information from whistleblowers implicating bureaucrats at OPM in mismanaging relief items for refugees and disaster victims in Bududa and Kasese districts.

Ms Kamya, citing evidence from informers, said “the situation is bad” with operations at the OPM, which has lurched from one scandal to another over the years.

These include the 2012 exposé by this newspaper of more than Shs60b pooled by donors for rebuilding war-scarred northern Uganda being spirited away by bureaucrats, inflated refugee numbers and procurement of poor quality blankets.

The Ombudsman’s probe will cover the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 financial years, and explore areas, including procurement and distribution of the relief items.

Its investigators are expected to summon ministers implicated in different scandals, including misallocating iron sheets and relief food meant for Karamoja, to assist with the investigations. Ms Kamya said her team will work hand-in-hand with the Auditor General’s office, which a source said had commenced a forensic audit into the alleged mismanagement of Karamoja iron sheets.