Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPNDENT | In a crackdown by the Inspectorate of Government (IG), two senior officers in Soroti District Local Government have been arrested. The arrested individuals are James Oede, the District Education Officer (DEO), and Alex Oriekot, the acting District Engineer.
The arrests came following an impromptu visit to the district by Deputy IGG Anne Twinomugisha Muhairwe prompted by numerous complaints from whistleblowers. The operation, led by Muhairwe and Simon Kajura, the Director of Anti-Corruption in the Inspectorate of Government, uncovered procurement irregularities, fund diversion, abuse of office, and negligence, all of which have had a detrimental impact on service delivery in Soroti.
The problems for the District Engineer began when Regional Inspector Rashid Ssentongo revealed that the construction of the new district headquarters was carried out without proper diligence. Concerns were raised about the absence of an approved architectural design and bills of quantities to guide the construction process.
On the other hand, the DEO, Oede, found himself in trouble after it was discovered that he had diverted over UGX 18 million intended for the construction of pit latrines at Along Primary School in Lalle Sub County. This diversion jeopardized the well-being of more than 600 students at the school.
Osman Oyoma, the LC3 Chairperson of Lalle, explained that the school almost had to close last term and may not reopen for the second term due to the lack of pit latrines.
The Deputy IGG stated that the arrested officials would face charges of abuse of office, office negligence, and other corruption-related charges, to be determined by the police in consultation with the IGG’s office.
The regional IGG’s office has been conducting an investigation into Soroti District regarding non-payment of salaries to staff and pensioners, allowances for councilors, mismanagement of assets, including district-allocated vehicles, and irregularities in the construction of the new district headquarters.
In recent developments, last week, chaos erupted among Soroti district councilors when a group of councilors chased and locked the office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Aggrey Muramira. The council is now divided into two factions led by LCV Chairperson Simon Peter Edoru Ekuu and Tubur Male Councilor Bob Owiny.
The disagreement between the factions revolves around the relocation of the district headquarters to Katine Sub County headquarters following the establishment of Soroti City, which is expected to assume control over the current district headquarters.