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Relief Food Scandal: IPOD Want Gov’t to Enforce Laws On Public Procurement

The Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) has called on Government to ensure strict adherence to the laws and regulations governing public procurement and public finance.

In a joint statement issued by Secretaries General of all political parties that are represented in Parliament which form IPOD, the called for a high degree of transparency and accountability for the success in fight against COVID 19 pandemic.

The Secretaries General, Gerald Siranda of the Democratic Party (DP), Nathan Nandala Mafabi of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justine Kasule Lumumba of National Resistance Movement (NRM), Mohammed Katerega of JEEMA and Fred Ebil of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) in unison also called for thorough investigation into the alleged misappropriation of COVID 19 relief food.

“We call upon Government and specifically the National Task Force on COVID19 to enforce strict adherence of all the laws of Uganda especially laws and regulations governing public procurement and public finance,” said the Secretaries General in a joint statement.

This comes just 2 days after the State House anti-corruption unit headed by Lt Col Edith Nakalema arrested four top officials in the office of the Prime Minister (OPM) for allegedly inflating prices of COVID 19 relief food and refusing to offer tenders to suppliers offering lower prices and instead contracted higher price suppliers.

 

The arrested OPM officials include Permanent Secretary Christine Kintu Gwewatude, Accounting officer Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner procurement Fred Lutimba and Commissioner disaster management (Head of COVID 19 relief management) Martin Owor.

Yesterday Friday, Police discovered some of the relief items hidden in Martin Owor’s country home.

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Meanwhile, IPOD called for investigations into the allegations labeled against the accused OPM officials.

“In particular, we hope that allegations of misappropriation of funds and/ or relief items by any public officers are dully investigated by legally mandated institutions of Government. We are concerned that failure to adhere to the due process in the investigation and prosecution of suspected offenders may send wrong signals and negatively affect the morale and commitment of public servants working very hard at the frontline of this struggle,” Secretaries General said in unison.

Other concerns raised by the Secretaries General include distribution of received donations in accordance with severity of need, procurement and donations of all good items should be subjected to scrutiny of Ministry of Health and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to ensure quality, Government should consider extending food distribution schemes that targets most vulnerable sections of the population in other urban areas in the country who live hand to mouth and Government setting up committees similar to National Task Force at the district level.

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