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MPs to investigate irregular compensation of Acholi, Teso war claimants

Ssewungu (C) is Vice-Chaiperson of the Committee on Government Assurance that is overseeing fulfilment of government promises. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Parliament on the Government Assurance and Implementation Committee have resolved to investigate irregularities surrounding livestock compensation.

It follows queries over the ongoing livestock verification process, and methods of compensation which were presented to the Committee by Jackson Kafuuzi, the Deputy Attorney General.

According to the report, the Ministry commenced processing of the claimants’ payments in 29 districts of the three regions affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA rebel activities after President Yoweri Museveni launched the 150 billion Shillings exercise on March 26th, 2021 at Soroti University.

During the financial year 2021/2022, the Ministry of Justice received a release of 50 billion Shillings and apportioned 13.973 billion Shillings for Acholi with nine districts; Lango 15.517 billion Shillings with 10 districts, and Teso 20.689 billion Shillings with 10 districts.

Further, Kafuuzi’s report indicated that the Ministry apportioned 1.724 billion Shillings for each of the 29 districts. They included; Kalaki, Serere, Bukudea, Pallisa, Kaberamaido, Kapelebyong, Ngora, Soroti, Nwoya, Kitgum, Amuru, Agago, Lamwo, Apac, Otuke, Amolatar, Pader, Alebtong, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Oyam, Kwania, Katakwi, Gulu, Butebo, Amuria, Lira and Soroti.

At the closure of the 2021/2022 financial year, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs received 38,225 submissions from 29 districts out of which, 30,339 were reviewed and a total of 20,727 beneficiaries were paid the 50 billion Shillings.

Nelson Okello, the Maruzi North County Member of Parliament observed that a field visit would help to iron out fraud practices because the compensation exercise which ideally should cover LRA affected has been politically expanded to create loopholes for corruption.

The Vice Chairperson of the Committee, Joseph Ssewungu, revealed that they have detected anomalies relating to unequal disbursement of funds to the beneficiaries without satisfactory justification by the Ministry because some claimants received as low as 300,000 Shillings instead of 1.050 million Shillings.

Ssewungu, who is the Kalungu County West County Member of Parliament told URN that a sampled report from the Ministry reveals that in Kwania district, Anthony Odur was compensated for 136 cattle, Antonio Opiyo was compensated for 120 cattle, and William Okidi was compensated for 110 cattle which are suspicious.

According to Kafuuzi, since 2016 to date, the Ministry has confirmed a total of 92,652 claims during the verification exercise. He added that the Ministry requires an estimated two trillion Shillings to offset all war debt claimants in Acholi, Lango, Teso, West Nile, Sebei, Bukedi, (Budaka, Busia, and Tororo), Busoga, and other regions which date as far back as 1979.

The committee has slated November next month to undertake field fact-finding visits to the affected regions and interact with local leaders and the claimants in order to find a lasting solution to the prolonged war compensation claims.

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