GULU – The police in Oyam district have arrested the LCII chairperson of Awiyo Parish, Iceme Sub-County for allegedly extorting money from beneficiaries of the Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment – SAGE.
SAGE is part of the Social Protection Programme – ESP under the government implemented through the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development. The programme has at least 6,596 beneficiaries, enrolled countrywide.
The government introduced SAGE program in which older persons who have clocked 80 years and above receive a monthly allowance of Ugx25, 000 – which money is delayed for months to accumulate.
Francis Ogwang was arrested following complaints from elders – alleging that after supervising payment of SAGE beneficiaries he would later move from door to door demanding Ugx75, 000 from each. He had allegedly collected at least Ugx375, 000, according to police.
Innocent Ogwang – an 82-year-old elder who claims to have paid the LCII boss Ugx50, 000, added that he was threatened to that his name would be deleted from the list if he failed to remit the money to him.
Charles Okello Engola – the Minister of State for Gender, Labour, and Social Development is said to have ordered Ogwang’s arrest on receiving complaints from the beneficiaries.
Patrick Jimmy Okema – the North Kyoga Police Spokesperson confirmed the incident – revealing a number of elders had already recorded statements pinning Ogwang, who would soon appear in court.
Under the laws of Uganda LCs I & II offer voluntary service; and a recent attempt through a Fort Portal High Court petition for a bid to force government to pay salary was dismissed on grounds that persons who occupy for these offices do it with full knowledge at the back of their mind that there is no salary attached – the reason many resort to scandalous acts to earn a living.