By Steven Enatu
The Chief Administrative Officer Dokolo district has been interdicted by the Ministry of Local Government for alleged abuse of office while two other officials are still pending interdiction.
Exclusive reports received by this website confirm that Isa Mbooge was interdicted by the Minister of Local Government and a new Chief Administrative officer, Alex Felix Majeme will be taking over office today, 23rd September, 2022.
According to the Dokolo Local Council V Chairman, James Otto, he received a call from the permanent secretary Ministry of local government indicating that Mbooge has been interdicted and handover is taking place today, the 23rd September 2022.
Otto also revealed that according to the communication he received, the other two officials; Moses Otim, the Principal human resource officer and Dan Ekuka the human resource officer Dokolo District will be interdicted by the new CAO
The officials are said to be responsible for paying ghost workers [Teachers] a case that was being followed by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and Inspectorate of Government.
“The letter I have not received the letter but I got a call from the ministry indicating that the new CAO is coming and his coming will see two officials interdicted. These are Moses Otim the Principal human resource officer and Dan Ekuka the senior human resource officer Dokolo District. The ministry has done their part interdicting the CAO” he said.
Otto added that he will work closely with the new CAO providing services to his community in a transparent way. “Am able to work with any CAO to offer services to the people” he said.
According to the 1995 Uganda Constitution to 2005, district local governments have a legal mandate to hire and fire all categories of civil servants through their respective district service commissions. Following the Constitutional amendment in September 2005, the right to hire and fire district chief administrative officers (CAOs) was reverted to the central government.
“You remember my letter to the ministry asking for immediate transfer of the CAO and in my letter there are clear reasons, one was that he is sabotaging development of the district and paying ghost workers. That’s the genesis of their fate, it was dwindling service delivery in the district” he said.
Barbra Akech, the District Resident Commissioner Dokolo in a phone interview with our reporter disclosed that the interdiction is based on the same grounds.
Akech said the officers have to pave way as they are being investigated on the said allegations.
“The outcome of the investigation will be decided upon by the Inspectorate of Government and State House Anti-Corruption Unit. You know they are defending themselves that they were paying these teachers directly on their account and didn’t know that they were dead,” she narrated.
When contacted for a comment, Issa Mbooge confirmed without divulging into details that he will be handing over office today, the 23rd September 2022 to a new CAO.
How the interdiction came
LCV Chairman James Otto Apili, On March 31, 2022 wrote to the Minister of Local Government asking for the immediate transfer of Mbooge, accusing him of inability to bring services to the people and sabotaging development of the district.
According to Otto, Mbooge also failed to appear before the Committee of Parliament on National Economy that had come to the district to assess the Agricultural Cluster Development Project ACDP.
He also accused the CAO of failing to provide draft budget estimates for the financial year [FY] 2022/23 as required by law and failure to utilize the Shs23 million for third quarter FY 2022/2023 under Uganda Road Fund.
Otto also accused Mbooge of failing to utilize the court fund of Shs48 million for FY 2021/22.
Otto in his letter also feared that money worth Shs300m for the construction of staff quarters in the two health centers of Aweki and Adok was likely to be returned to the consolidated fund.
However, in his response through a letter dated April 13, 2022, addressed to the Local Government Ministry Permanent Secretary, Mbooge denied all and clarified some of the accusations brought against him by the district Chairman.
For instance, the allegation of failing to meet MPs in the Committee on National Economy, Mbooge said he met the MPs in Kumi district accompanied by other district staff. He even presented photos of the meeting with the legislators.
“It is true the parliamentary Committee on national economy had scheduled to be in Dokolo on Tuesday 15st March, 2022 at 10: 00 am to interact with various stakeholders. However, at the same time the Ministry of Education had scheduled the official commissioning of Bata Seed School on that very day which had earlier been earmarked at 10:00 am but we adjusted it to be at 2:00pm to be able to accommodate the Parliamentary Committee in the morning hours.
But due to unavoidable circumstances, members of the Parliamentary Committee on national economy arrived at 3:00 pm when I had proceeded to Bata Seed School. By the time I arrived at the District, the committee had ruled that the entire team of Dokolo District should follow them to Kumi on Wednesday 16th March, 2022 at 8:00 am and interact with the committee. We complied and went to Kumi District Headquarters and interacted with the committee.”
On the accusation of having failed to provide draft budget estimates for FY 2022/23 as required by law, Mbooge said: “It’s true we couldn’t lay the budget by 31st March, 2022 due to the fact that the Draft Budget window could not open on the PBS which the annual estimates are a aligned and extracted had not been uploaded due to system challenges from the Ministry of Finance and there was no way we could go ahead to lay a none authentic budget estimates for the sake of beating deadlines without putting into consideration authentic IPF from the Ministry of Finance Planning & Economic Development.
On the alleged failure to utilize the Shs 23 million for third quarter of FY 2022/23 under Uganda Road Fund, Mbooge said the utilization of road funds budget was confused by the district chairperson himself who gave a directive to the district engineer in the committee meeting of Works and Technical services that he shouldn’t do any road works beyond Shs1.7m per kilometer of the road.
“On realizing this confusion I had to communicate to the district engineer directing him to implement the road works as per the approved budget and work plan, disregarding the District chairperson’s directive.”
On the failure to utilize the court fund of Shs 48mln for FY 2021/2022, Mbooge said: “It’s true the Shs 48mln for payments of court cases was budgeted under local revenue. “So far out of the realized local revenue we have paid M/s Kania advocates shillings 15,000,000. Subsequent payments to be effected as local revenue is realized.”
On the alleged release of money for work that was not done in FY 2021/2022 to upgrade Adagmon and Awelo Health Center III, the accounting officer denied saying he has never effected payment to that effect.
“I have never effected any payment for work not done, these works for upgrade of these health centers were certified and payment effected and the works were completed and already in use.”
Mbooge dismissed the allegation of paying ghost workers [teachers] and being followed by the State House Anticorruption Unit.
“I have never at any one time paid a ghost worker or staff in Dokolo District. What is being referred to as ghost workers are actually our established staff whose health were incapacitated due to ill health and some ended up passing on without bringing to our attention, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic,” he said.
“And immediately we realized the passing of these staff, they were deactivated from the payroll. This case was handled and concluded by the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House”
He also dismissed the accusation of failure to take administrative measures on remittances of 10 percent by head teachers to the district officials saying it’s an allegation by the district chairperson himself without substantial evidence.
Isa Mbooge was posted to Dokolo District on July 1, 2019.