Crime & Investigation

Officials Involved in Refugee Scandal Will Be Prosecuted – Minister

State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru has assured the international community that government is ready to prosecute all Government officials who were involved in swindling money meant for refuges in Uganda.

The Minister said Uganda as a country has been credited by the international community for hosting hundreds of thousands refuges, and such an image cannot be spoilt by corrupt officials in the Government.

“As a ministry we are just waiting for the office of the Inspectorate of Government to carry out their investigations on the suspects in the Office of the Prime Minister who are being accused of eating refugees’ Money. Once the investigation is over, then they will be prosecuted in the competency courts of Law to answer charges of corruption,” he said.

The Minister made the remarks while launching the Media Run for Refuges 2018 at the Eureka Place Hotel in Ntinda.

Ecweru said that Government has the mechanisms to apprehend all those who were involved in the mismanagement of the refugee’s funds.

His comments come after the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Eng Hillary Onek interdicted senior officials in the Ministry on the allegation that they swindled money meant to be used in the procurement of humanitarian items for the refugees in the country.

The officials are also accused of inflating the number of refugees currently in the country for their personal benefits.

The affected officials that were affected include Mr Apollo Kazungu (commissioner refugees); Mr Walter Omondi (Refugee Desk Officer in Mbarara); Mr John Baptist Sentamu, formerly the camp commandant in Mbarara, who was recently transferred to Hoima; and Mr Francis Nkwasibwe (a registration officer/assistant commandant in Mbarara, who too had been recently transferred).

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Run for refugees  aims at raising funds countrywide  to supplement  government  and development partners’  efforts  to provide  for the needs  of the refugees  and hosting communities across various parts of the country.

Currently Uganda is hosting the highest numbers of refugees in Africa, and the third largest globally.

The refugee population is now about 1.4million; women and girls represent 54% of the total refugee population, while children constitute 60%.

This has increased a compounded refugee crisis with critical gaps in food, water, sanitation, education and early childhood services.

Robert Otim, the national coordinator for the Initiative told Journalist that refugees in Uganda need more support which not 100% can entirely be provided by government and development partners such as the UN agencies responsible for refugees.

In their drive, they expect to raise good resources to support refugees in the country.

“We expect to raise about Shs600 million in the runs that will be conducted in Kampala for the national and also in Arua for the region; all the proceedings will go towards supporting refugees to access clean water which is now a big problem both to the refugees and the hosting communities,“  Otim explained.

Patrick Okello , the WASH advisor at Oxfarm Uganda, one of the  agencies that are offering humanitarian support to refugees said due to inadequate access to clean water by refugees, it has led to the outbreak of diseases such as cholera inmost camps.

The run for refugees will involve many activities in the month of April to May. Some of the key activities involve a pre-visit to refugee settlement in Bidibidi, Run for Refugees Corporate dinner in Arua slated to take place on May 18 and a marathon in Arua on May 20 and another one in Kampala on June 8, 2018.

 

 

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