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EXCLUSIVE: Iron sheets aside, OPM fails to account for Shs25b goat funds for Karamoja region

According to an exclusive report by a source inside the OPM that preferred to stay anonymous, a total of Shs25bn was spent to buy goats for Karamoja but most households each got fewer than 16 goats promised amid reports some of them, costing up to Shs800,000, arrived sick and began falling dead.

President Museveni gestures during the launch of goat distribution project intended to benefit reformed cattle rustlers in Karamoja sub region in June 2022. FILE PHOTO/ PPU

With the iron-sheet saga chronically afflicted with the Office of the Prime Minister, there is yet another procurement scandal that has hit the top technocrats with the alleged mismanagement of Shs25 billion tender issued in 2021 for the supply of goats to vulnerable households in the Karamoja subregion.

The project, part of the Resettlement Package for Youth Who Abandon Cattle Rustling in Karamoja region was launched in June 2022 by President Museveni with an aim of supporting rehabilitated youths to re-integrate them into society.

However, an exclusive report by a source inside the OPM that preferred to stay anonymous says since its launch, a total of Shs25bn was spent to buy goats for Karamoja but most households each got fewer than 16 goats promised amid reports some of them, costing up to Shs800,000, arrived sick and began falling dead.

On a visit to Kotido District in Karamoja Sub-region, this investigative website learnt that a total of 13,000 goats have already been distributed and another 5,000 are yet to be procured and given out to beneficiaries.

Sources briefed on the matter identified the supplier of the goats, whose number and health have been contested, as relatives of powerful individuals and politicians at OPM.

Mr David Amoding, a community development officer in Kotido, said: “Some goats died of Peste des petits ruminants (PPR), some sold the goats because of hunger and some goats were stolen by cattle thieves, but the main challenge that we saw, most of the goats from Teso had PPR. Most of [the beneficiaries] lost those goats that came from Teso, there is a farmer here in my community, out of 11 goats, he lost 10 goats and remains with only one goat, which is a Galla [breed].”

It is also on record that after the contractors supply goats, they could again go back to the communities and buy them cheaply from the beneficiaries.

Kotido Municipality MP, Mr Ismail Muhammad Lomwar, said the goat deal was a scam and the animals were procured at inflated prices.

“The cost of the goats was inflated at Shs500,000 to Shs800,000. A goat in Karamoja can cost between Shs100,000 and Shs150,000, the information was hidden from us, the leaders. The supply became a scam, the goats which were supplied most of them died,” he said, adding that the goats were actually bought at just 40,000/- Shilling from the beneficiaries.

MP Lomwar said they advised the Karamoja ministers against restocking because of the raging insecurity and subsisting cattle thefts and suggested the money be used to buy tractors but their proposals were ignored.
“The second thing we asked the minister was that involve the local suppliers so that this money can boost the local economy so that it comes within the circulation, there were a few lucky [local suppliers] that got involved,” he said.

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Mr Philip Muya, a community leader in Lopei Sub-county, Napak District, said the goat scheme floundered because local leaders were sidelined. 

“We don’t know who was contracted, the goats were delivered by trucks, the person said I was told to deliver and when asked who the supplier was, they could not tell us,” he said.

A local veterinary officer cleared the Boer goats for distribution, only for them to start falling dead. But there were other problems with the breeds. They could not mate with the gallas. Besides, some recipients sold the goats to buy food in the wake of famine.

Sources also revealed that at one point they would Buy these goats from the beneficiaries and resupply them in another area.

But one would ask who are those who got contracts to supply these goats? – The deal was given to 9 Private Companies which are said to be big government officials and state house officials.

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List of Companies Awarded Contract to supply goats:-

  1. Open Contractors
  2. Twemed General Suppliers Ltd
  3. Bukanja Highland
  4. Platinum Business Ug
  5. Rutaborwa Enterprises
  6. Abemari Smc Ltd
  7. Enrich Agro Vet Technology Ltd
  8. Luck and Lark Co. Ltd
  9. M/S National Animal Crenet and Data Bank.

OPM Speaks out

In a separate interview with a local newspaper (DailyMonitor), the Principal Communications Officer in the OPM Ms Joyce Babirye said Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja had ordered investigations into both the iron sheet diversion allegations and concerns raised regarding the procurement of goats for Karamoja.

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