Arua district engineer arrested over sh130m theft

Arua, (UG): The Inspectorate of Government (IG) has arrested Arua district water engineer Norman Ijuka over allegedly stealing government property, worth shillings 130 million.

Ijuka was arrested on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, in Arua district and is expected to be arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court today, January 5, 2024, to answer charges of abuse and theft of public property.

According to Deputy Inspector General of Government Dr Patricia Achan Okiria, the water engineer allegedly stole properties including 847 water pipes meant for Odupi water project in Omugo sub-county in Terego district.

In addition, Ijuka purportedly stole materials comprising of iron bars, concrete blocks and assorted paints worth shillings 30 million from the site of office block construction meant for the Arua National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) office.

Ijuka alleged that the works were completed whereas not, prompting the IG to order his arrest. However, Ijuka had been on the run ever since he allegedly committed the said offences until he was arrested on Wednesday.

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According to Okiria, abuse and theft of public property is an offence of corruption and can have serious consequences for society as a whole, as it undermines public trust, impedes public services, and wastes taxpayers’ money.

The Deputy IGG said it is crucial to address and combat abuse and theft of public property to ensure the effective functioning of public institutions and the well-being of communities.

“These crimes have significant consequences on both the Government and the general public. They can result in financial losses, disruption of public services, increased taxes, and diminished community resources. These actions erode the trust of the public in government institutions and can undermine social and economic development,” she noted.

In a bid to minimise corruption through abuse and theft of public property, Okiria disclosed that the IG is enhancing comprehensive measures such as strengthening governance, implementing robust legal frameworks, promoting transparency, and engaging citizens to combat this vice effectively.

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“By safeguarding public resources, we can promote the common good and ensure a more accountable and prosperous society,” she said.

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