Gulu District’s local government is conducting investigations into officials suspected of extorting money from beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model (PDM). District Chairperson Christopher Opiyo Ateker made this revelation during an interview with local press, specifically mentioning incidents in Bungatira Sub County related to parish committee chairpersons.
Ateker clarified that these chairpersons are purportedly collecting sums ranging from Shillings 10,000 to 20,000 from each project beneficiary, contravening the project guidelines. The parishes most affected by this issue are Atiaba Central and Lukodi, both located in Bungatira Sub County, where investigations into the alleged misconduct are currently underway. However, the release of funds to the district’s parishes has only reached 50 percent. The chairman attributed this to challenges such as poor internet connectivity and a lack of equipment for data collection and entry.
Ateker further explained, “We had set October 15, 2023, to release funds to the parishes, but we are extending it by one more week due to the challenges we can’t avoid, ranging from poor internet connection to few gadgets.” Gulu District comprises 11 Sub Counties, 47 parishes, and 5,024 households, and it has released funds to only 1,300 households out of the Shillings 5 billion allocated for PDM implementation.
Gulu District Commercial Officer, Alfred Ocen, reported that an additional 1,000 households have been approved for the pending release of funds, expected later this month. Among the Sub Counties in the district, Awach Sub County is the best performer with a money transfer rate of 51 percent, having successfully distributed funds to 130 out of its total 171 households receiving money from the project.
In contrast, Piabona Sub County has the worst performance, with a money release rate of only 2 percent, indicating that only 8 groups out of 428 have received the funds, according to the Commercial Department’s report. The Deputy Gulu District Resident Commissioner, James Cosmas Okidi, has encouraged beneficiaries to use the funds wisely and invest them in enterprises that have been selected and approved.