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Lugazi town agents on the spot over local revenue shortfalls

Lugazi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Lugazi municipal council probe committee has pinned town agents for failing the planned realization of local revenue. The thieving agents have gone overboard to the extent that now only 35% of the expected revenue is declared as collected.

The probe committee was formed in the previous month to investigate the drop in local revenue collections. However, in its findings, the committee concluded that town agents employed to collect revenue from business entities instead issue fake receipts to steal money without clear trace.

Lugazi municipality has 19 town agents collecting revenue from the three divisions of Najjembe, Kawolo and Lugazi Central. Cyprian Byansi, the Municipal Secretary for Finance who also headed the probe committee says none of the thieving town agents remits the council revenue from the trading licenses as it is collected.

Byansi appeals to the offices of the Auditor General and Inspectorate of Government to intervene for special audits so as to eliminate corruption and abuse of office for the good of the people of Lugazi municipality.

In the ending financial year, Lugazi municipality planned to collect Shillings 1.4 billion as local revenue from markets, businesses licenses, royalties, fines, slaughter fees, and other potential sources, however, only 35 percent of the planned revenue has been realized.

The Municipal Mayor, John Bosco Onzima Asea notes that various agents including those serving under probation are driving expensive vehicles and lavish lifestyles which are beyond what their wage can afford.

According to Asea, even before the special probe, the matter has several times been brought before the office of the town clerk for management but nothing has been done.

He also advises the town to shuffle most of these town agents as well as dismissing those that are implicated but nothing has been done.

Our efforts to talk to some of the town agents about the matter have failed saying the matter is administrative before referring us to the town clerk.

Joseph Ssebudde, Lugazi municipal town clerk says the matter is just politicized.

He notes that several times he has tasked political leaders and other complainants to provide visible evidence to ignite investigations but has since failed.

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