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Bukwo sub county chief arrested over Covid-19 money

Ben Lwendok is under police custody. URN photo

Bukwo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The sub county chief and community development officer of Chesowel sub county, Bukwo district are in trouble for allegedly stealing Covid-19 funds meant for Village Health Teams and the LCI chairpersons.

The suspects are Ben Lwendok, the sub county chief and Alex Kidet, the Community Development Officer of the sub county.

They were arrested by the Bukwo District Police Commander Samson Lubega on Thursday following an outcry from VHTs and the LCI chairpersons, that they have never received their money which they were entitled to.

Bukwo RDC Samuel Mbimbaza Hashaka confirmed the arrest of the duo, and said that a sub county sub accountant whom he declined to name for technical reasons is still on the run.

He said that the duo connived with the sub accountant to embezzle the funds noting that instead paying the recommended 100,000 shillings for the LC1 chairpersons and 300,000 shillings for the VHTs, they paid less and made the beneficiaries to sign for full amount.

In September, Bukwo district received over Shs316 Million from the Ministry of Health to fight the spread of coronavirus in communities and VHTs were tasked to mobilize and sensitize the communities about COVID-19.

The LCI chairpersons allegedly signed for 100,000, but they were given 50,000 shillings and VHTs were made to sign for 300,000 shillings, but they were instead paid 100,000 shillings.

Hashaka also noted that some of the VHTs and LCI chairpersons have never been paid their money. He said the duo have been charged with embezzlement, abuse of office, and corruption.

Julius Chelimo, the LCV chairperson told Uganda Radio Network that his office has received several complaints from the victims implicating sub county chiefs for failing to pay them their money.

He said the complaints so far have emanated from five sub counties including Chesowal, Riwo sub county and Town Council, Senendet, and Kaprorosi sub counties.

He noted that the district is compiling all the cases of sub counties that missed the money before taking action.

Cases of graft are common in Bukwo district. Cheptanoi Catherine, the Acting Assistant CAO is on police bond after being accused of embezzling over 120 million shillings meant for two road projects in Suam sub county where she was sub county chief. She was given bond last week.

The two roads are 3km Rakawayandet-Kwirwot-Suam road which was supposed to have been constructed at 75 million shillings, and Suam community access road which was tp cost 61 million.

Four district officials were also arrested over non-existent projects of mini irrigation schemes which cost between 50 and 70 million.

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