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20 local government staff under probe over Shs2b fraud

Twenty senior local government officials have been handed over to police for investigations in regard to fraudulent payment of more than Shs2 billion of taxpayers’ money.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr Benjamin Kumumanya, yesterday handed over 18 officers, among them accounting officers, internal auditors, and chief administrative officers, to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the Police Criminal Investigations Directorate.

The officials are from Jinja Municipal Council, Namisindwa, Manafwa and Butebo districts.

Two other officials; Mr Charles Dominic Ongom and Ms Jane Nyangoma, who operate the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), were handed over to detectives by the Accountant General in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Lawrence Semakula.

They were handed over to the investigating officers at the closure of an investigation meeting chaired by Lt Col Edith Nakalema at the State House Anti-Corruption Unit offices in Kampala.

It is alleged that the said money was effected via the IFMS system to private companies and a savings and cooperative group, United Development Sacco.

The companies, which allegedly received the doubtful payments, include Samix Uganda Limited, Zedkol Financial Services Limited, Otap Limited and Ligation International Limited.

It is alleged that the said money was paid from the accounts of the respective local governments in form of salary deductions and payments for services but without any documentation.

Lt Col Nakalema said the investigations followed a complaint in which Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi reported doubtful payments of Shs2b.

“Our preliminary investigations have confirmed that the money was paid out and we want to establish who exactly received the money and for what purpose. This is an open investigation and the key stakeholders are the ones complaining,” she said, revealing that the complaint arose after a payment of Shs762 million was intercepted by a town clerk who alerted the Finance ministry.

According to the Lt Col Nakalema, Shs120 million was paid through Jinja, Shs495 million through Namisindwa, Shs543 million (Manafwa) and Butebo (Shs175 million).

Mr Semakula said one of the staff at the Finance ministry has confessed how the fraudulent system was initiated. Mr Kumumanya asked the arrested officers to cooperate with the detectives to expedite the matter.

This article was originally published on The Daily Monitor.


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