GULU – Pader Resident District Commissioner – RDC and the LCV chairperson are locked-up in a bitter fight of counter-accusation over corruption allegations in addition to nd poor service delivery.
The leaders’ fight went public on Tuesday when Rtd Col Fearless Obwoya demanded that State House intervened – and sacked the RDC – Milton Odongo.
Speaking at the graduation of students who completed a five-month vocational skilling course from the Acholi Zonal Hub in Gulu, Obwoya openly accused his rival of divisionism and frustrating development in the area.
He told the State House Comptroller, Jane Baryeke who presided over the function as chief guest that Odongo had caused disunity in the district – making it impossible for leaders to work – demanding that intervention, specifically to replace him.
Obwoya reiterated his statement on Wednesday in an interview – saying Odongo had declined to embrace teamwork ever since his posting to the district; concentrating on creating cliques among political leaders and civil servants.
He also alleged that Odongo was working tirelessly to cover-up suspected corrupt officers – citing a case where a retired primary school teacher, whose salary arrears amounting to Ugx17m – civil servants in the line office at the district had swindled but were enjoying protection from the RDC constraining efforts to arrest and prosecute them.
But Odongo refuted the allegations against him. He instead described Obwoya as a corrupt individual.
“That man is corrupt and I am going to arrest him over the same. He has no power over an RDC – because I am the one who monitors what he does. When you see him reacting like that -it means there is something pinching him,” claimed Odongo.
He also alleged that Obwoya had abused his office – through awarding of several contracts to directly benefit himself and his relatives, though evidence could be presented to prove the allegations.
During the Tuesday function – a number of leaders from the region called for unity among the rivalling district heads to ensure proper service delivery to the people.
Meanwhile, Michael Obol, the LCIII councillor for Burlobo Parish, in Angagura sub-County in Pader district has been arrested for diverting two animals meant for children suffering from nodding syndrome.
The animals were part of the 208 oxen distributed to 104 families affected by nodding syndrome in the district.
In 2014, President Yoweri Museveni pledged to support families with nodding syndrome patients with oxen and ox-ploughs – and by 2016 only half of the pledge had been fulfilled.
Last week, Jane Barekye, the State House Comptroller delivered the 208 oxen to beneficiaries at a ceremony at Awere Health Centre III in Awere sub-county.
Justin Ocen, the LCV Vice chairperson Pader said that 104 affected families had each got two oxen -unfortunately, Obol and his wife, Susan Lamwaka had received the animals as caretakers.
Ocen explained that the family, which has three children suffering from nodding syndrome, are orphans, which is why Obol, and his wife were verified as their caretakers, but reports later emerged that the animals were taken to Vincent Komakech, a resident of Liibi Village in Burlobo Parish.
He revealed that the information led to the arrest of Lamwaka on December 28, 2022 who later revealed the whereabouts of the animals.
Ocen said Lamwaka has been released on police bond, but Obol and Komakech, who were arrested on December 30, were still in police custody.
Ocen said the district has reported the matter to State House officials, who directed that the suspects be brought to book.
He added that two other suspects were under investigations and would be arrested as soon as police get statements from a few individuals.
David Ongom Mudong – the Police Spokesperson for Aswa River Region acknowledged receiving the report but added that he was still compiling it.
According to a report by the Chief Administrative Officer of Pader, Robert Adebuason, there are 1,548 households affected with nodding syndrome in the district, with some households having more than one patient.