OPTIMISM AS NAKALEMA PICKS JINJA CORRUPT OFFICIALS LIKE HAPLESS GRASSHOPPERS
By Mulengera Reporters
Extreme anxiety continues to grip officials of Jinja Municipal Council (JMC) following the arrest and detention of a section of top most bosses over financial mischief that has been termed scandalous. Orchestrated by Col Edith Nakalema, the raid happened on Monday and the victims included Town Clerk Ambrose Ocen, Town Treasurer Ronald Elijah Kafifi, the Principal Human Resource (PHR) Samuel Male, Jemima Mirembe Kasadha the Accounts Senior Assistant (ASA), Amina Mutesi the Acting Principal Education Officer (PEO) and the former Deputy Town Clerk Jofram Waidhuba.
The ageing Waidhuba, who retired early this year amidst lots of controversies, survived the Nalufenya coolers after saying he wasn’t medically feeling well while Ocen was released on Police bond on grounds he had not yet been transferred to Jinja at the time the impugned shoddy deals occurred.
Male is being detained at Wandegeya while Kafifi continues to enjoy free food and accommodation from the confines of CPS Kampala pending appearance before the Anti-Corruption Court in Kololo. The five were invited to Kampala by Local Government Ministry Permanent Secretary Benjamin Kumumanya to clarify on a transaction in which Shs120m was paid to a Pallisa-based organization called United for Development SACCO.
Information available indicates that the conspirators, working with others still at large, conspired to claim that some civil servants from JMC had borrowed loans from the SACCO whereas not. Without an iota of shame and truth, the JMC racket with their Pallisa counter parts privy to internal mechanisms in the local government pushed for payment using the official financial systems. Preliminary Nakalema investigations indicate that some supervisors in the Ministries of LG and Finance in Kampala too will at some point have lots of questions to answer regarding how such fraud has gone on for all these years without them detecting it.
“Despite several reminders from United for Development SACCO to your office to pay the above arrears, the above stated salary loan recovery deduction arrears have remained unpaid to date,” reads a demand note from the Pallisa organization.
The demand letter, signed by the SACCO board chairman John Stephen Okiror, got approval from Waidhuba who instructed his sector managers to handle accordingly leading to the release of Shs120m ostensibly as loan repayment fees.
At the time of sanction payment, Waidhuba was the Ag Town Clerk following the controversial interdiction of Francis Byabagambi in October 2018. The actual truth is that none of the JMC staff had ever contracted any loan obligations with the Pallisa-based organization.
What is causing sleepless nights now is that preliminary investigations are revealing that the money was shared by some officials from JMC and the Pallisa organization-and possibly other godfathers in Kampala. This is just a tip of the iceberg as reports suggest the scam is being executed in more than 30 urban authorities using questionable organizations with close connections with accounting officers.
Some of the other urban authorities whose officials are now under investigation by the State House sheltered Anti-Corruption Unit led by the ruthless Lt Col Edith Nakalema include Apac, Manafwa, Butebo and Namisindwa among others.
According to Nakalema, Shs495m was defrauded in Namisindwa; Shs175m in Butebo and Shs543m in Manafwa which was then shared among the suspected civil servants now under full investigations.
Jinja has the highest cases of corruption most of which are jointly hatched by a handful of shrewd politicians and the technical officers who have since mastered the art of stealing taxpayers’ money. Contacted for a comment, Ocen confirmed the development but declined to divulge details claiming the matter is under investigation by the Police and Anti-Corruption Unit.
“All I can say is that investigations on some of the officials of Jinja is going on but I cannot comment any further since the rightful bodies are now in charge of the matter,” Ocen said briefly before hanging up. Residents in Jinja are keenly watching as events unfold at Town Hall which has become synonymous with scandals engineered by a few politicians and technical staff who use their positions to swindle public funds. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).