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More Rot In Shs55bn COVID-19 Relief Cash As Ghost Beneficiaries Unearthed

The investigation into beneficiaries of the Shs55Bn relief fund by Parliamentary Local Government Accounts Committee has uncovered ghost beneficiaries on the list of beneficiaries from Arua City.

During today’s investigation, Martin Ojara  (Bardege-Layibi Division) who also doubles as Chairperson of the Committee revealed that a scrutiny of the list submitted by Arua City Officials revealed that  data entrants inserted their names in the list and lied about their occupations so as to have a taste on the money.

Among the professions the data entrants used to swindle the money included; saloon operators, shoe repairers, waitresses and food vendors.

The Shs100,000 that Government was giving to selected vulnerable Ugandans saw one priest conniving with the data entrants to receive the money as a cobra.

The District officials also included on their list a number of ghost boda boda riders.

When Parliament questioned the boda boda operators, they admitted to knowing only two female boda boda riders in Arua City. 

The committee was also surprised to see names of teachers who are on government payroll as beneficiaries yet the vulnerable poor did not get.

These revelations angered MPS who asked these data entrants to explain why they included themselves on the list, something they say denied the intended beneficiaries to receive the relief aid during lockdown.

In response, the shamed data entrants faked remorse, apologising to Parliament, cursing the devil for tempting them to partake the relief aid.

One of the data entrant, Shamim Komuntale, who masqueraded as a food vendor said, “I am very sorry. I apologise, I did so, but I wasn’t supposed to do that. I am very sorry, I was tempted.”

It was further established by the Committee that when these shammed entrants members noted that Parliament was conducting probe into list of the covid- relief funds beneficiaries, they flew into panic mode, with many rushing to Arua leaders and proposed refunding the money so as not to face the wrath of Parliament.

The lawmakers faulted the mayors, town clerks for not verifying the list submitted to government for payment, with Ojara wondering how these same leaders in Arua city will handle the government proposed project on parish model which has huge funds when they abused the small money of covid-19 relief money.

 “You the people charged with offering these services should really feel shamed that you turn around and register yourselves and for us we aren’t talking about how much it is because there are some proud Ugandans who think Shs100,000 is so little to even talk about. We are talking about integrity, we are talking about the commitment to providing that service to the citizens,” Ojara remarked.

He added: “If you are trusted with delivering Shs100,000 to that vulnerable person and you fail, how then do you deliver Shs100m which will be coming in form of Parish Model?

Sam Wadri, Mayor apologized for his incompetence and the anomalies in the list, saying that he was not aware of such irregularities in this process.

“My office has been completely ignorant about these anomalies which we have seen today. I wasn’t aware that priests were registered. But the job you’re doing is a good one,” Wadri noted.

The Committee declined to fall for the crocodile tears of the data entrants and handed them over to Parliament Police  for further interrogations.

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