By our reporter
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the Attorney General and finance Ministry to ensure that all claimants who had previously been verified are immediately paid compensation for their lost livestock.
The directive stemmed from a petition filed by Lango Parliamentary Group recently regarding the manner in which over 20,000 claimants from the region who had been verified were left out from the compensation list by the office of the Attorney General.
Mr President made the directives on Saturday, 22nd January 2022 during his impromptu meeting with the legislators from Lango as a follow up on the peaceful demonstration regarding the appalling state of Lira-Kamdini Highway.
During the meeting that was held at Alidi Primary School, Loro Sub County in Oyam District, President Museveni noted that due to delays in securing approvals from World Bank on environmental projects, Government has taken over the reconstruction project of this highway.
The legislators presented to the President, a range of issues from the region including the immediate compensation of Livestock under two court cases including Akello and Ongia and Delyon and others.
“All the 23,573 claimants whose names were published as not approved to be compensated in addition to the approved 18,469 claimants. This will make a total of 42,042 claimants presented by the Attorney General,” the President noted.
The President further noted that more than 125,000 claimants who went to court under Akello Betty and Others and Deylon Johnson and others excluding those who were part of the 42,042 beneficiaries to be considered for compensation in the second phase.
Regarding the question of why claimants are being asked to present Tax Identification Numbers as a requirement to receive pay, the President directed Attorney General to immediately drop such demand and instead replace it with the national Identification Card which can easily be obtained from NIRA.
“Persons who lost cattle but didn’t go to court to be considered after the first two categories. Requirement of TIN Number to be abolished and replaced with NIN from the identity card,” the President ordered.
It should be recalled that Members of Parliament from the three sub-regions where the government Cattle compensation program is being implemented expressed dissatisfaction and concern about the irregularities surrounding the exercise.
It is reported that the majority of genuine beneficiaries have been excluded from the final list of those due for payment before the end of this financial year.
A source privy to the program revealed that the entire verification exercise conducted by the office of the Attorney General to generate a final list of beneficiaries from Lango, Teso, and Acholi was marred with irregularities that saw non-claimants considered for possible payment.
In the Lango sub-region specifically, MPs under their umbrella of the Lango Parliamentary Group have questioned circumstances under which the team from the Attorney General led by Commissioner Phillips Mwaka reduced the number of verified beneficiaries from the first announced 42000 to only 18000 people.
LPG says they have established that even the list of 18000 people presented by the Attorney General is dominated by ghost beneficiaries with a majority not being on the ground and questioned the motive of AG’s team to also trash the genuine list of beneficiaries obtained from the Court.
According to the legislators, the government risks paying ghosts, most of whom enlisted for payment by a certain lawyer from Lango whom they suspect to have been compromised by some officials from the AG behind the inclusion of ghost claimants.
Regarding the appalling state of roads in Lango, Museveni further maintained government’s commitment to upgrade Dokolo-Ochero-Namasale, Lira-Aloi-Abim-Kotido, Corner Ayer-Corner Aboke-Bobi roads before of this term by 2026.
On the health sector, President Museveni directed that four health Centre IVs in Lango should be upgraded to district hospital status.
The facilities listed for immediate upgrade include Alebtong HC IV which can cover Alebtong and Otuke Districts, and Dokolo HCIV which can cover Dokolo and Amolataar districts.
Others are Aboke HC IV which can cover Kole and Oyam Districts and Ogur HC IV which can cover Lira District, Lira City and surrounding Acholi areas.