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Uganda: Nakalema probes Shs7b claims for Kisoro tea seedlings

KAMPALA. The head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit Lt Col. Edith Nakalema has vowed to arrest all culprits involved in false claims for Shs7.3b in inflated supplies of tea seedlings in southwestern Uganda.

“We want the genuine claims to be paid. Payments have been delayed because of the fake claims. We shall arrest the thieves.

There are reports of collusion between officials of Kisoro District and NAADS to defraud government of Shs7.3b in false claims,” she said during a stakeholders meeting at Kisoro District main hall on Tuesday.

She was addressing claimants for the supply of tea seedlings in Kisoro district where she led investigations following complaints from tea nursery bed operators who claimed they had not received payment worth Shs7.3b.

The meeting was attended by tea nursery bed operators, extension workers, sub-county chiefs and local leaders.

According to the State House statement, the claims for payment stretch from 2015 to-date.

She explained that a joint visit of the Anti-Corruption Unit and National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) had been to the area from mid-April to establish the facts on the ground.

Nakalema added that anomalies in the claims by nursery bed operators were detected in six sub-counties of Chali, Nyakabumule, Nyabwishenya, Musoora, Nyasubuye and Busanza.

According to the statement, Nakalema revealed there were inflated numbers of seedlings supplied on top of ghost gardens and that attempts had been made to secure  payments through non-existing tea nursery bed operators.

Nakalema says issues to be addressed include how the procurement process was done and how the amount of money to be paid had been arrived at. She said that the nursery bed operators should explain the inconsistencies in the claims.

She emphasized that Operation Wealth Creation and Naads officials must explain the facts pertaining to the claims after noting that only 50% of the claims had been settled.

During the meeting, she directed Charles Byaruhanga of Garuga Group and Kisoro District LC5 Chairman, Mr Abel Bizimana to report to Police in Kampala.

She also revealed that Mr Gabriel Nkuriye, Mr Emmanuel Mubangizi, Mr Justus Rukare, Mr Solomon Basaze and Mr Sabiiti Alex were under investigation.

The police arrested Mr James Agaba who is a District Councilor, for attempting to block the ongoing investigations and also being unruly during the exercise.

The Executive Director of Naads, Dr Samuel Mugasi, said their goal is to eliminate false claimants and pay genuine ones.

Dr Mugasi commended the farmers for their commitment to work and also tasked them to expose those who inflated the number of seedlings supplied.

By Daily Monitor


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