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Ten District Officials Remanded for Allegedly Causing Financial Loss of sh1.2bn

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The Inspectorate of Government (IG) has apprehended Ezaruku Kazimiro, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Madi Okollo District, on allegations of embezzling Shillings 1.2 billion from the Bugiri District Local Government during the 2020/2021 financial year. 

Kazimiro’s arrest occurred alongside that of five departmental heads, the Deputy CAO, and three accountants within the Bugiri District Local Government.

The individuals arrested include Haruna Kamba, the Bugiri Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Paul Isiko, the District Production Officer, Mustapher Nyende, the Chief Finance Officer, Fred Ikaaba, the District Engineer, Muhammad Kyondha, the District Planner, Henry Kabulo, the District Education Officer, Abdallah Waiswa, the Senior District Accountant), Minsa Atoire, the Senior Accounts Assistant, and Fred Bazibu, the Assistant Accountant.

Their detention followed reports from whistleblowers alleging that they withheld salaries from employees during the heightened period of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the government depositing funds into their accounts. Additionally, the whistleblowers accused the suspects of threatening dismissal whenever concerns were raised about unpaid salaries or unexplained deductions. It is alleged that Kazimiro, during his tenure as the CAO of Bugiri District from 2019 to 2023, colluded with the other suspects to manipulate the payroll systems and siphon funds from civil servants.

Frederick Oketch, the Busoga Regional Inspectorate Officer, revealed that evidence suggests the suspects deposited excessive amounts of money into a single civil servant’s account, instructing them to return it to their departmental heads for easy deposit into the district account, which they subsequently divided among themselves.

Oketch further explained that since large sums were deposited into a single account, legitimate recipients were not paid for extended periods, while the suspects distributed the funds among themselves. He also expressed concerns about payroll fraud in the entire Busoga sub-region, involving all 11 districts and Jinja City, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to combat corruption.

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The suspects appeared before the Anti-Corruption Court on Tuesday and faced charges of fraud and causing financial loss to the government. Oketch emphasized the need for collaborative efforts from victims and other stakeholders in the fight against graft.

*Source – URN*

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