Terego district petition gov’t over misuse of over 22 billion shs by Arua
todayAugust 19, 2021
By Federick Dramadri
Terego District leadership has petitioned the ministry of Local government over the alleged failure by Arua District to account for 22.4 billion shs meant to kick start the administrative unit last year. It is alleged that On October 2020, Terego District received a notice from Ministry of Finance through Ministry of Local Government over the Parliamentary approval of 23.8 billion shs supplementary funds as the district’s start-up capital for the financial year 2020/2021 that were channeled through Arua district’s account. The district only received 1.4 billion Shillings from Arua to kick-start its activities and the whereabouts of the 22.4 billion Ugandan Shillings remains unclear. In a letter written by Ministry of Finance last year, the government directed the two districts to reach a memorandum of understanding to pave way for Terego district to access the funds since operationalization of the new district had just been granted and that it had no accounts and no interim council. However Arua district leaders declined to grant the request and proceeded with the implementation of projects in Terego district on behalf of the new administrative unit. The residual Arua district allegedly constructed the district administration block, secured two vehicles and channeled 100 million shs to Terego district to kick start its activities of its town council which money was used to put the office block.
Between the Lines
However the Chief accounting Officer Terego district Stephen Lokope stated that the district received only 1.465 billion shs from Arua district, 1 billion shs was accounted for as startup funds while 400 million was for none wage. Despite a directive issued by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local government to separate the two entities, Arua district has continued to control the payroll of the staff of Terego district. To date staff members of the new administrative unit have not received their salaries for more than three months. Arua district has also reportedly rejected appeals for a memorandum of understanding with Terego, but the outgone CAO Donath Eswilu pledged to issue a report through the new CAO Bukenya Jude Mark on how the said money was spent, but no report has materialized. “We want accountability of the 22.4 billion shs which Arua district claimed they used to award contracts and fund capital developments. How many schools were supplied, with what, at what cost and how much was invested in constructions? How much was paid as salaries, whether some balance was returned to Arua district’s accounts. The new CAO said the answers to all these were to be provided by the new CAO especially on the expenditures. But to date we have struggled for in vein to get the report”, Mr. Lokope said. The district chairperson Terego Winfred Saka however says their efforts to demand for accountability fell on deaf ears, adding that they are seeking external auditors into the matter. “Arua said monies sent through their accounts were supposed to be spent by them but we have observed serious gaps in the expenditures. Part of the monies was meant for three roads that is Ejomi to Owaffa sub county headquarters and the road was not done, the road from Otumbari to Lugbari it was not done. They selectively went for a shorter road in terms of kilometers Owaffa to Obayi but when we tasked the leadership of Arua, they told us money meant for another entity can not go through their accounts but the question remains how did they do the shorter projects? That why we need a forensic Audit,” Saka said. Efforts to extract a comment from the new CAO Arua Jude Mark Bukenya were futile by press time.
How this has affected Terego District
The district has failed to secure a master plan and this has affected several activities.
Civil servants have not received their salary arrears for the last three months.
Infrastructure including roads, schools and health facilities remain in a sorry state.