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Nwoya district officials given one week ultimatum to refund PDM funds

A police officer handcuffs Stephen Tekakwo, the Deputy Focal point person for PDM in Nwoya district on Monday. URN photo

Nwoya, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Six staff of Nwoya district Local Government have been given an ultimatum of one week to refund 170 million Shillings they diverted for the implementation of the Parish Development Model-PDM.

The officials were implicated early last month following an internal audit that revealed 170 million shillings, part of 417 million Shillings the district received from the government in the 2021/22 financial year was diverted out of PDM activities.

On Monday, the officials were arrested by the police and detained at Nwoya Central Police Station on orders of Joveline Kalisa, the Deputy National Coordinator for the Parish Development Model-PDM.

Kalisa visited the district following complaints raised by district officials about the non-commitment by the implicated staff to refund the money by September 15, deadline issued by the Chief Administrative Officer Gabriel Atama.

The suspects include the Principle Commercial Officer, Geoffrey Odoki Ociti, who failed to account for 41.6 million shillings, and Mark Odong Osineri, the Senior District Accountant accused of diverting 33.6 million shillings.

Others are Alfred Luwum, the Senior Community Development Officer who has 2.9 million shillings unaccounted, and Linas Lakony, the district planner with 2.7 million Shillings. Meanwhile Samuel Awanga, the Chief Finance Officer couldn’t account for 33.8 million shillings, and Alfred Kilama, the Acting Production Coordinator has 33.86 million unaccounted.

During a heated meeting at the district headquarters, the Community Development officers from the sub-counties accused the implicated officials of soliciting money from them without caring for accountability.

Paska Ayoo, the Purongo town council community development officer said that she found a readily available requisition for the implementation of activities even before confirming the receipt of money in the bank account.

According to Ayoo, she gave 400,000 Shillings to the Senior District Accountant and another 1 million shillings to focal point person PDM after being threatened.

Olivia Ajok, the Koch Goma town council and sub county Community Development Officer equally revealed that she was instructed to remove 200,000 Shillings from each of the Sacco accounts from parishes and remit it to the focal point person.

“I was forced to use my allowance of 480,000 Shillings and topped up using my personal money of which I raised only 1 million shillings and gave to Osineri, from a corridor in Anaka town council. When I asked about how I was going to account for it, I was told I am a mother so accountability should not be a problem”, Ajok said.

The suspects acknowledged their mistakes in the diversion of the fund and committed to refunding the money by November 4 next week. Samuel Awanga, the Chief Finance Officer in his commitment letter asked for a period of one week to mobilize the resources for refunding the PDM fund.

“I Awanga Samuel warranted fourth quarter funds to production as was released by MoFED. I commit to refund the above fund as directed by Friday, November 4, 2022, I need this period to mobilize the resources,” A letter written by Awanga reads in parts.

Kalisa lauded the suspects for opening up and acknowledging their mistakes but directed that they should refund the money by next week in the Parish Sacco accounts.

So far, 34 million Shillings according to the Nwoya Resident District Commissioner has been recovered from the implicated officials since a directive was issued by the Chief Administrative Officer Gabriel Richard Atama last month.

Nwoya District Local Government received a total of 417 million from the government for the implementation of PDM in the financial year 2021/22. Out of the money disbursed, 262.8 million Shillings was meant for Parish revolving fund, 44 million Shillings for Administrative Costs, 60.3 million Shillings for staff costs, and 49.8 million shillings for gadget procurement.

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