The State House Anti-Corruption Unit has arrested six officials of Gulu City Council over allegations of embezzling over 200 million shillings in local revenue.
The suspects were picked up on Thursday by plain cloth police officers backed by Internal Security Organization personnel in Gulu city.
They are Denis Okot, the Chief Finance Officer, George Odokonyero, the Accounting officer, George Nicholas Kidega, the former Acting Chief Finance Officer, and Denis Okwera, an accounting officer of the Pece-Laroo Division. Others included Bosco Otem, Pece-Laroo Division Treasurer, and his assistant Mark Francis Ocen.
Emmanuel Bunya, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit Communications Officer said that the arrest followed days of investigations conducted after a tip-off from whistle-blowers.
Bunya said the suspects have been charged with obtaining money by false pretense, theft, uttering false documents, forgery, and conspiracy to commit a felony.
He notes that the suspects have been collecting money illegally from local contractors within the city particularly targeting fees paid at the city abattoir, street parking, loading, and offloading fees.
Bunya says the suspects have been issuing fake receipts and sometimes demand money from the contractors as they wish without reflecting the payments in the local government accounting system of the Integrated Revenue System (IRS).
Two contractors, Waa General Traders, Gulu City Livestock Cooperatives and Savings Credit Ltd were the victims of the suspect’s extortion according to Bunya.
According to Bunya, their investigation also shows that data reflected on the IRS indicates that several contractors within the city are owing the city council huge amounts of debts and yet they had made revenue payments to the suspects. He notes that the investigation reveals about 200 million shillings in locally raised revenue has been diverted by the suspects.
Bunya says the unit has also picked up reports on alleged embezzlement of funds allocated for the road, land, and health sectors among others which will be investigated and the suspects brought to book.
The suspects who have been detained at Gulu Central Police Station are expected to be arraigned in court on Friday.
Meanwhile, the police have mounted a manhunt for two other suspects implicated in the embezzlement of local revenue within the city who have reportedly gone into hiding following the arrest of their accomplices.
Gulu City Council officials have severally raised complaints about the declining revenue collection in the two divisions of Pece-Laroo and Bardege-Layibi.
For instance, in the 2020/21 Financial Year, the city council recorded a 50 percent decline in local revenue after it had projected to collect Shillings 4.7 billion. City officials cited connivance in the processes of collecting the local revenue between corrupt officials and contractors.