Five government officials in Arua district spent the night in police cells on charges of causing financial loss of close to Sh99 million. The suspects are Israel Echoku, the Arua district Principal Human Resource Officer, Natal Opima, a senior Accounts Assistant, and three retired Headteachers, Jackson Abidrabo, Mike Mulander Oliver, and Samuel Acidri Darlington.
The suspects were apprehended on Wednesday afternoon by officials from the Inspectorate of Government (IG) over irregular payments of gratuity totaling over 99 million Shillings. In a statement released on the official X account (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday, the Inspectorate of Government said the suspects acted contrary to Section 20 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, and caused financial loss to the government of Uganda exceeding 99 million Shillings.
“IG has today arrested five officials of Arua DLG for allegedly causing a financial loss of UGX 99M to the government, contrary to Section 20 (1) of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009. They include Mr. Israel Echoku, Principal Human Resource Officer in Arua district, and Mr. Opima Natal, Senior Accounts Assistant. Others are retired head teachers, Mr. Mike Mulander Oliver, Mr. Abidrabo Jackson, and Mr. Samuel Acidri Darlington,” read the statement.
Adding that “They will appear before the court of law to face charges determined by the court. The individuals to whom double gratuity was irregularly paid were retired head teachers who are currently pensioners.” Alfred Okuonzi, the Arua LC 5 chairperson, confirmed that the suspects are currently at the Arua police station while investigations continue. According to Okuonzi, the irregularities occurred before he assumed office.
The irregularities took place between July 2019 and June 2020, according to information available from the Office of the Inspectorate of Government. A source at the Office of the IG told URN that the suspects are likely to be transferred to Kampala, where they will appear before the anti-corruption court and face charges accordingly.