PS on spot for ignoring IGG report on Obongi CAO

Charles Ouma, the embattled Obongi CAO

OBONGI – The Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Local Government has been put on the spot by the locals of Obongi district for failing to take action against the Chief Administrative Officer, Charles Ouma as recommended by the Inspectorate General of Government (IGG) report of June 2021.

In the report filed on June 28, 2021, the IGG recommended that the PS of the Ministry of Local takes appropriate disciplinary action against Ouma for failing to ensure that the district technical officers guide the community project management committees (CPMCs) and community procurement committees (CPCs) in line with the Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) procurement guidelines and stores handbook, 2018.

The recommendation follows IGG’s investigations on alleged irregularities in the procurement of contractors for DRDIP subprojects in Obongi district that led to the loss of millions of taxpayers’ money.

“The Inspectorate of Government investigated allegations of irregular procurement of contractors for Alibabito primary school staff house construction worth Ugx424,200,000, Obongi Health Center IV General Ward and staff house construction worth Ugx760,000,000 and the district production office block construction worth Ugx2,015,000,000,” the report highlighted.

“The monitoring and inspection exercise the IGG carried out in March 2021 found implementation of the sub-projects at the procurement stage with allegations that the district officials had hijacked the procurement from the CPCs,” Mariam Wangadya, the Deputy Inspector General of Government indicated in the report.

As a result, the IGG recommended that the PS and OPM consider restarting and overseeing the entire procurement process for the three subprojects, adding that disciplinary measures be taken against Ouma, the CAO, Madrwa William, the Procurement Officer, Musafiri Ibrahim, the Acting District Engineer, Geoffrey Tako, the DRDIP Desk Officer and Toah Asega, the Assistant Inventory Officer for mishandling the procurement process and undermining the principles of the World Bank embedded in the project.

However, the continued silence of the Permanent Secretary against the investigated officers has raised eyebrows in the district.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the former Obongi County MP said time has come for the PS to act by interdicting the officials named by the IGG to allow investigations to continue into the matter.

He said the more the officials continue staying in office, the worse because they will jeopardize investigations into the allegations and many more other complaints labelled against them.

“The Obongi people are slowly losing confidence in the government entirely. First and foremost, cases of corruption which are reported including thefts of government property when reported to the Institutions of Government, the files disappear, the cases are killed and the Obongi people are becoming worried about this,” Fungaroo said.

Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the former Obongi County MP

“The case in point is here with the police where we have a case recorded as Obongi CRB 112/17 where 12 computers of Obongi SS were stolen including solar lighting systems, and laboratory equipment comprising of microscopes and human skeleton plus other things which were in the laboratory of Chemistry and Biology. The case was reported to the police under the above CRB, the suspects listed there included some of the staff of Obongi SS, the Director of Studies, the Watchman but to date, this case has never proceeded beyond Obongi police station,” Fungaroo added.

Fungaroo urged the government to get interested in investigating the rampant corruption allegations eating up Obongi district and other government institutions mandated to fight corruption if taxpayers’ money is to be saved for the development of the district.

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