Butaleja, Busia District officials arrested over fraud

Some of the suspects arrive at Busia Central Police Station. Photo | Yahudu Kitunzi

What you need to know:

  • The State House Anti-Corruption Unit spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Bunya, told this publication on Saturday that the suspects caused financial loss to the government.

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit in liaison with police have arrested 11 public servants at Busia Municipality over alleged mismanagement of Busia main market funds.

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit spokesperson, Mr Emmanuel Bunya, told this publication on Saturday that the suspects caused financial loss to the government.

“They caused financial loss to the government amounting to Shs850m all related to the neglect of duty and mismanagement of Busia Main Market,” he said.

The suspects include; the Town Clerk, Mr Ronald Baganzi, his deputy Mr Johnson Wafuba, the Municipal Production Officer, Dr Joakim Serunkuuma, and the Chief Finance Officer, Mr Wycliffe Chimulwa.

Others include; the Commercial Officer, Mr John Ekwaru, the engineering officer, Mr Fred Wafula, the Western Division Town Clerk, Mr Pascal Moya, the Division Treasurer, Mr Alfred Okuku, the Procurement Officer Ms Nabwiire Maliza, the Acting Municipal Engineer, Mr Paul Wabwiire and the Principal Health Supervisor, Mr Moses Okurut. Mr Okurut's assistant James Mulimba is still at large.

The market which President Museveni commissioned on December 1, 2020, was constructed by the government under the Market and Agricultural Trade Improvement Programme [MATIP-2] with funding from the African Development Bank. The market has the capacity to accommodate 2,000 vendors and it has 1,261 facilities, including, lock-ups, stalls, pharmacy, pitches, cold rooms, day care facility spaces among others.

In a related development, the State House anti-corruption unit also arrested two Senior Butaleja District officials over fraud.

The Town Clerk of Busolwe Town Council, Mr Julius Hirya, was arrested for fraudulently awarding the town council structural and planning contract without approval, while Mr Kainan Hibbombo, the Butaleja District Senior Procurement Officer, was arrested for fraudulently processing an award letter to the same contractor purporting that the district contracts committee had approved the contract whereas not.

“They awarded a contract to World Host Consultants Ltd and further paid the same company Shs32m without approvals,” Mr Bunya said.

This publication further learnt that some senior officials at Butaleja District headquarters abandoned their offices in fear of being arrested.

Some of the suspects were given police bonds as investigations go on.

Last week, Tororo District Education Officer (DEO) Albert Odoi and the district Internal Auditor Sarah Namugwere were arrested with five others on orders of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

The state minister for economic monitoring, Mr Peter Ogwang, and the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit Brig. Gen Henry Isoke have pitched camp in Bukedi sub-region to fight corruption.

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