KATAKWI, UGANDA: Several Katakwi district officials are being probed for the alleged mismanagement of public funds and government vehicles. In June 2022, the Katakwi district council expressed dissatisfaction with service delivery, which has caused losses to the district.
The council recommended disciplinary measures against individual officers, starting with six officials accused of mismanaging public funds. This led to the arrest of three district officials by the State House Anti-corruption Unit on June 24, 2022, for the alleged misappropriation of 72 million meant for the procurement of desks for Odoot, Ongongoja, and Ariet primary schools.
The desks were to be procured in the 2019/2020 financial year. Those arrested are the District Education Officer, Angella Atim; the Chief Finance Officer, Raymond Eyomu; and the Education Accountant, Joseph Ajoko. They spent days at Katakwi Central Police Station and were released on bond last week.
Reports from the district indicate that the officers procured only 77 out of 189 desks meant for the schools. Geoffrey Omolo, the Katakwi district chairperson, says that since he assumed office, issues of corruption have kept coming up in every discussion, including council meetings.
Omolo notes that the procurement of desks was conducted towards the end of the financial year, when all the money was paid before the supply of desks. He notes that, as the district, the only option was to involve an independent unit to investigate the matter.
The council has also ordered all district officials using government vehicles to park them by 5:00 pm every day. The resolution was made to stop some officials from using office vehicles for night travel. Some district officials in Katakwi still operate from Soroti City, more than 25 years after Katakwi was carved out of Soroti.
Retired Maj. Godfrey Katamba, the Katakwi Resident District Commissioner, says that the conduct of some district officials could be another factor driving them into corruption.
The other officials under investigation are the District Water Officer, the Secretary of the District Service Commission, and the District Veterinary Officer.