By Our Reporter
Five Local government officials in Butebo district have been arrested on allegations of operating a ghost Secondary School for three years causing a financial loss to government of Shs360 Million.
Those who were arrested yesterday on the orders of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Mwidu Kalikwani on Friday are the district planner, Ms Jacinta Ikesa, District Inspector of Schools Josephine Kanyi, Internal Auditors Teopista Akia and Mr Bernard Okou, as well as Mr Charles Wesunire, the education department accountant.
The group was arrested at the office of the RDC, from where they were attending a meeting that involved the District Police Commander, Mr Henry Kisubi.
The group was arrested over allegations of operating a non-existent Kanigima Secondary School for three years.
“I have ordered for the arrest of the district officials after we unearthed a scam that they have been operating a ghost school which received Shs360m in grants over the past three years, causing a huge loss of finances to the government,” Mr Kalikwani said.
Mr Kalikwani directed the police to ensure that the District Financial Officer, Mr Samson Koowa Mutekanga, and the Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Kasim Kutosi, who were absent at the meeting, to record statements.
“We are talking about Shs300m lost but this does not include money paid to the ghost teachers and the headmaster whom we suspect are on the payroll and receive a monthly salary,” he said.
Mr Kisubi said the suspects were being detained at Butebo Police Station under charges related to forgery and loss of public funds.
Kanigima Secondary School, according to the documents accessed by this reporter, is registered by the Ministry of Education and Sports with an enrollment of 250 students.
The district has Kanigima Seed School in Lukone Village, Kanigima Town Council, while the ghost school [Kanigima Secondary] is in Kitoi-Kawonono Village, Kanigima. Butebo only has five secondary schools.
Mr Gilbert Omugit, the council speaker, said the ghost school has been receiving funding for the past three years.
Suspects speak out
During the brief meeting, Ms Ikesa denied being involved in dubious acts, saying her work is not to plan for departments, adding that she doesn’t know the school and where it is located.
Ms Kanyi said she had gone to Kanigima and established that the said school was nonexistent. But asked by the RDC whether she had made any written communication to the district education officer after establishing the ghost school, she said she did not make any formal report.
Mr Wasunire said whereas the grants for the said school had been coming, they operated a hybrid system which made it difficult to establish the money allocations and purpose.
“The whole of last year since we operated a hybrid system, the Chief Financial Officer and salary officer were warranting money to the general fund [and] I could not know whether the money was there or not,” he said.