Gulu City commercial officer arrested for alleged abuse of PDM funds

Gulu City Mayor Alfred Okwonga says the suspect was arrested to aid the investigations into complaints surrounding the alleged abuse of the program within the city.

GULU, UGANDA: Detectives from the State House Anti-Corruption Unit have arrested the Gulu City Council Principal Commercial Officer over alleged abuse of the Parish Development Model (PDM) fund.

Nixon Atemo was reportedly picked up by Police on Thursday afternoon, hours after being grilled by detectives from the State House Ant-Corruption Unit.

His arrest came shortly after the State House Anti-corruption Unit headed by Brig. Gen Henry Isoke commenced an investigation into the alleged mismanagement of PDM funds and its implementation in Gulu City and Gulu District.

Gulu City Council Mayor Alfred Okwonga confirmed the arrest of Atemo on Friday.

Okwonga says the suspect was arrested to aid the investigations into complaints surrounding the alleged abuse of the program within the city.

“I got the report that the commercial officer has been arrested to help with the investigation into the allegations concerning PDM, he is the focal point person in charge of financial inclusion pillar three of PDM, and considering the allegations, he will help in the investigation,” says Okwonga.

He however declined to divulge details regarding Atemo’s arrest saying investigators were still on the ground picking more details.

The Aswa River Region Police Commander Damali Nachuha said that Atemo was arrested on allegations of falsifying accountability for the PDM fund in Gulu City. Nachuha says the suspect is being detained at Gulu Central Police Station pending further investigation.

“We haven’t got all the details about his arrest, the State House Anticorruption unit is still on the ground investigating the matter,” She says.

Brig. Isoke and his team of investigators from State House have been in Gulu City since the start of the week following last week’s directive from President Yoweri Museveni demanding an in-depth investigation into alleged abuse of PDM funds.

During the tour, Brig. Isoke met with district and city leaders and security personnel in Gulu City on Tuesday. He later held a meeting with benefiting PDM Saving and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) members in Unyama Sub-county in Gulu District who raised a number of complaints that have affected PDM implementation.

Among the complaints raised by the members include illegal extortion of money between 5,000 and 10,000 Shillings for photocopying documents by Sub-county officials, delayed disbursement of funds into their accounts, and nepotism.

Launched in February last year, PDM is one of the latest government programs aimed at alleviating household poverty at the Parish level. The government intends to disburse up to 100 million shillings in each parish across the country that will be used as a revolving fund by the benefiting SACCO members.

However, cases of misappropriation of the PDM fund by civil servants have been widely reported across the country putting the success of the initiative at a risk.

While addressing a rally in Gulu city late last month, President Museveni pledged to punish civil servants found to have messed with the implementation and misappropriation of PDM funds in Gulu and other parts of the country.

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