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Gulu Leaders Face Probe for Manipulating COVID-19 Relief Cash Lists

At least 11,472 people in Gulu City benefited from the COVID-19 relief cash that was distributed through the Office of the Prime Minister. The money was supposed to be disbursed to vulnerable Ugandans who were affected by the second COVID-19 lockdown, which started on June 6.
Gulu District LC 5 Chairperson, Martine Ojara Mapenduzi
Dozens of leaders in Gulu City are being investigated for manipulating the processes and disbursement of the COVID-19 relief cash.

At least 11,472 people in Gulu City benefited from the COVID-19 relief cash that was distributed through the Office of the Prime Minister. The money was supposed to be disbursed to vulnerable Ugandans who were affected by the second COVID-19 lockdown, which started on June 6.

Each of the beneficiaries received 100,000 Shillings which was sent to their phones through Mobile Money platforms.  But recently, the Local Governments Accounts Committee of Parliament discovered that leaders in Gulu manipulated the registration of the beneficiaries to benefit their relatives and assistants.   

Committee Chairperson Martin Ojara Mapenduzi says that they are now investigating the former Layibi Division Chairperson Alfred Oluba who benefitted as a lorry driver, Godfrey Oloya, an assistant to the Town Mayor who camouflaged as a boda-boda motorcyclist, and David Tookwiny, a Town Agent in Kasubi among others.

Weeks after the money was distributed, Justin Ochora, the Spokesperson of Gulu City Boda-boda Association and Emmanuel Odongo of the Gulu City Special Hire Operators distanced themselves from the beneficiaries that were registered as boda-boda and lorry drivers.  

The committee also discovered that the money which was meant for the vulnerable groups ended up in the hands of councillors, staff of the council, relatives to the city leaders, and former division mayors among other politicians. These have now been summoned by the Committee to answer to charges of fraudulently hijacking the data compilation process.

Napak District Member of Parliament Faith Nakut Loru said she was shocked by the greed of the Gulu City administration. But Gulu Resident City Commissioner Denis Odongpiny Odwong and Christine Olok, the Gulu City Deputy Mayor have all blamed the anomalies on the data clerks whom they say had full control over the list. 

However, Gilbert Oloya, the Town Clerk Pece-Laroo division blamed the anomalies on inadequate time for his office to undertake the verification of the beneficiaries.  

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