By Solomon Hamala
A committee set up to investigate allegations of mismanagement of government funds in Bugweri district has discovered that Shs250 million meant for construction of feeder roads is unaccounted for.
This was revealed on Saturday by the three man committee led by the Commissioner District Inspections in the Ministry of Local Government, Alfred Owen.
Owen was speaking during the handover ceremony of the outgoing Chief Administrative Officer Bugweri, Johnathan Mukose to the new CAO, Nelson Kirenda at the district headquarters on August 29, 2020.
The Commissioner recommended for immediate action against concerned officials to ensure all the money is recovered.
The three man committee was recently assigned the duty to investigate allegations of embezzlement of government funds by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Ben Kumumanya.
The assignment followed increased complaints from members of the public and local councilors about mismanagement of funds by the Chief Administrative Officer, Johnathan Mukose.
Owen while presenting their findings, also instructed police to take action against the concerned officials believed to have diverted shillings 80 million towards payment of ghost workers in the education department during the last financial year.
The committee also tasked the outgoing Chief Administrative Officer to explain why he demoted the Human Resource Officer, Nazim Namuganza yet they were legally offered positions by the District Service Commission.
Mukose said the district was given shillings one billion by government as a startup fund to kick off business upon its official inception.
Mukose said shillings 100 million was used towards construction of a foundation for the new office block while 150 million was utilized towards renovation of the old office block that’s currently housing district officials.
The Minster for Local Government, Raphael Magyezi said the ministry was about to take over the district for failure to elect an interim leadership to oversee activities conducted.
“The President has the powers to take over a district that fails to elect its leaders as mandated by law,” he said.
Magyezi said he had instructed the Electoral Commission to conduct elections for interim chairperson and its executive next week to ensure they monitor government programs for the next three months while in office.
“The problem why funds are being embezzled here is that there is no interim leadership to monitor whatever is being done,” he said.
A group of NRM flag bearers put an injunction to the elections of new interim leadership claiming it was being conducted illegally forcing the electoral commission to halt the process till now.
The Second Deputy Prime Minister, Kirunda Kivenjinja who had earlier been accused of defending the outgoing Chief Administrative Officer denied allegations that he was at the ceremony to defend someone.
“Am here to ensure that the handover ceremony goes on well but not to defend anyone,” he said.
He blamed the Resident District Commissioner Bugweri, Gad Rugaju for failing to handle complaints in the district administratively and instead opted to always report matters to the ministry directly.
The new Chief Administrative Officer, Nelson Kirenda promised to unite workers in the district to ensure harmony thus development.
Crowds of people who had turned up to witness the handover ceremony cheered as the new chief administrative officer Nelson Kirenda was handed over instruments of power.
Farida Namudiba, the female councilor for Buynaga Sub County urged government speed up investigations into allegations of embezzlement of government funds by the outgoing chief administrative officer.
Kirenda officially takes over office on September 1 while Johnathan Mukose has been posted to Moroto district as the chief administrative officer.
Mukose was recently dragged to court by a retired teacher, George Kayega after he reportedly locked him up in a toilet for five hours on inquiring why he was not receiving his pension for the last six months.