The Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Elijah Madoi on Saturday rejected cassava stems that were being supplied under the Operation Wealth Creation-OWC program due to poor quality.
The 430 sacks were meant to collectively contain 258,000 cassava stems worth 17.2 million Shillings. The suppliers of the cassava stem who include; Victor Biwoye and Veronica Kawala declined to turn up for the inspection exercise of the supplies at Jinja district headquarters.
Madoi received the two trucks containing 430 sacks of cassava stems but on unpacking 15 random sacks, the stems were already dry with limited chances of germination. Other sacks contained branches of different tree species and leaves, which had been packed as cassava stems.
Madoi said that there are well-connected individuals who use hidden identities to supply fake planting materials.
“The suppliers on paper cannot effectively explain the procurement procedures involved in this entire cassava supply chain to OWC which implies that there are heavily connected individuals who are using them as a scapegoat to supply fake materials,” he says.
Madoi adds that they plan to investigate whether there was connivance between OWC officials and the suppliers to defraud the government.
OWC officials who had earlier on agreed to receive the cassava stems declined to comment about the matter.
The Jinja LCV Chairperson, Moses Batwala says that the supplier should be blacklisted for defrauding the government with fake supplies. Batwala further says that there should be feasible audits within OWC operations in Jinja district because several farmers have raised a red flag over fake farm inputs supplied to them by OWC.