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Speaker Among Orders Probe in Missing Karamoja Relief Items

The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the presidential affairs committee to investigate the alleged mismanagement of relief items in the ministry for Karamoja Affairs.

 The directive followed a petition by Members of Parliament (MPs) from Karamoja Sub-region to the Speaker, asking for a forensic audit on both the procurement and distribution of relief items.

 Under their umbrella body the Karamoja Parliamentary Group, the MPs accused the senior officials of distributing among themselves more than 12,000 iron sheets, goats and foodstuff that were meant to benefit vulnerable communities that have in the recent past been affected by starvation and spates of insecurity

 Some of the relief items  were reportedly found at the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Maria Goretti Kitutu’s relatives’ homes in Namisindwa where she is the district Woman MP. 

 These Iron sheets were to be distributed to various vulnerable households, interest groups, institutions (churches, schools, mosques, health centers).

 The Nile Post Understands that Bukedea was able to receive 500 iron sheets, Kajamaka Primary School in Kidongole sub county got 200 iron sheets, Kadacar Primary School in Kangole subcounty got 150, Kalou Primary School in Kabarwa sub county got 150. 

 The Speaker has now directed a serious probe into the allegation. The committee shall report back in two weeks.

Over the last three years, Karamoja region has been going through the ravages of insecurity and famine that has claimed lives and still counting. These factors have also led to the displacement of many vulnerable families from their homes, including to the districts neighbouring Karamoja. 

Several engagements were held with the central government, development partners and even the head of state, to find lasting solutions to the numerous ills that bedevil the region, leading to the passing of the Shs 39 billion supplementary budget towards the pacification of Karamoja region and another 135 billion for the procurement of relief food.

Of the Shs 39 billion, Shs 22 billion was for procurement of goats, Shs5 billion was for procurement of 100,000 iron sheets for disarmed youths across the region. 

To- date, according to the Karamoja Parliamentary Group, no vulnerable or disarmed youths have received even a single iron sheet.

Although Shs 22 billion had been planned to buy goats, the group alleged that the Minister went ahead to spend more than Shs 25 billion on buying goats and less than 35% of the goats have been supplied and many beneficiaries identified by the districts are still waiting for the same.

 In their petition to the Speaker, the Karamoja Parliamentary Group demanded that Kitutu and her junior Agnes Nandutu step aside to allow proper investigation into the matter and that all those involved in this gross mismanagement be brought to book. However, no accusations have been directly brought against Nandutu.

 In a memo written to the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister dated February by the Senior Inventory Management Office explaining the explanation on the issuing of iron sheets showed that the decision was taken based on the verbal and Whatsapp communication of the personal assistant to the Minister.

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