Obongi CAO ordered to return unspent funds for DRDIP community projects

Andrew Leru, Obongi Chief Administrative Officer speaking to media recently. (photo/File)

The Director of Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (DRDIP) in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Dr Robert Limlim has instructed the Obongi Chief Administrative Office (CAO) Mr Leru Andrew to close all community project accounts and work out the modalities of extinguishing the liabilities to the OPM with immediate effect.

Dr Limlim was on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, addressing DRDIP stakeholders in the district council hall, on the various complaints raised by beneficiaries on the implementation of the project.

“This money has to be returned to the World Bank,” Dr Limlim said, adding that; “the World Bank has regulations that all countries must respect, help our communities to return that money and the only possibility is to pray they consider the second phase II.”

The OPM official said the unspent monies arising out of failure to complete community projects will have to be forwarded to OPM while those on the verge of completion can be paid after generating invoices before the end of the project which is December 31, 2023.

He warned that tough actions await officers who have deliberately delayed payment because they will have to pay from their pockets and the government will not hesitate to crack the whip against such negligent officers.

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CAO responds

The Adjumani CAO Leru Andrew in his submission said Obongi district has excelled in the implementation of DRDIP notwithstanding some hiccups which management has been handling most professionally.

Mr. Leru said since from year 2019 to date Obongi district has received shs 88.7 from DRDIP and has since then accrued interest of shs 400m from the bank but received instructions to return the money to the project account in OPM.

The CAO could not however divulge how much money he was most likely to return to OPM and the number of projects that would be affected but one visible project that could be affected is the construction of the office block of the production sector.

The Obongi district chairman Mr. Habib Buga has said his office is ready to implement the instructions but reminded the DRDIP director that such money should also be returned to the district in a likely event that the World Bank considers funding phase II of the project.

RDC Hashaka claims DRDIP funds were abused by technical officers.

The Obongi Resident District Commissioner Mr Samuel Mpibaza Hashaka has called upon the communities in the district to rise to the occasion and fight tendencies of corruption perpetuated by technical officers so that government funds reach the intended beneficiaries.

Mr Hashaka believes DRDIP in Obongi has been marred by gross financial irregularities as several community project officials have lodged multiple complaints in his office, but the police could not take up the matter.

The statement of RDC Hashaka is a manifestation of a divided district administration characterized by cliques’ formation and infighting as he divulged that a clique of corrupt officers want him out of Obongi district because of his anti-corruption stance.

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The communities raised concerns over the implementation of the incinerator at the main market, which was contracted to Gulu University by OPM, solar power installation at the main Mosque in Obongi town and youth seedlings and vegetable growing among others.

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