Police in Pader district has recovered a grinding machine worth 35 million Shillings which had reportedly gone missing.
The grinding machine was given to the community by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, through the National Agricultural Advisory Services-NAADS secretariat in August 2019, to assist them in promoting maize value chain development.
However, reports indicate that some former leaders of the then Latanya sub-county wanted the machine taken to another area. Richard Ojok, the councillor representing Ogom sub-county accused Pader district Vice Chairperson Justine Ocen of intentionally diverting the machine to Amoko where he comes from.
Ojok said that by the time NAADS advised them on where the machine should be, Ocen, the then district speaker had decided on a different location, adding that the structure built to house the machine is now occupied by leaders of Porogali sub-county.
Ojok said Ocen threatened the late District Commercial Officer who had attempted to have the machine taken to the rightful beneficiaries as advised.
But its parts have now been found in three different homes, one belonging to Samuel Ayella, a former councillor of Golo Parish. Other parts were found in the homes of Nelson Oketa, the LCI Chairman of Olang Nono village, and Patrick Oyet, the LCI chairman of Lamingoyiko village, who are both said to be related to Justine Ocen.
Santa Aokot, a shopkeeper is said to have detained some parts of the machine because one of the LC owes her money. Pader Resident District Commissioner Milton Odongo said he received a letter from the LCIII chairman of Porogali sub-county requesting his intervention to recover the machine.
Odongo has also directed the police in Pader district to investigate circumstances under which a grinding machine donated by the government ended up in the homes of former leaders. He said the suspects should be punished for being in illegal possession of government stores, while the district Vice Chairperson should also give more details on the matter.
Justine Ocen, the vice chairperson said he did not have a comment on the matter.
The machine was part of the equipment procured under the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme-CAIIP which was initiated in 2006 through the Ministry of Local Government to enhance the commercialization of agriculture and improve market access.
It was expected to increase the volume of agricultural produce marketed by 45 per cent and household incomes by 50 per cent at completion by enhancing farmers’ access to markets and attracting competitive prices.