Pader, Uganda – The Pader district resident commissioner (RDC) Mr. Milton Odongo has early this week on Monday, 30th of October 2023 directed that the police criminal investigation department (CID) investigate and arrest perpetuators who were involved in diversion of the Uganda Primary Education (UPE) funds amounting to over Shs 22million which was collected from 74 schools purportedly in names of study tour.
The officers ordered to be arrested include Mr Lam David Komakech the Pader district secretary for education and sports, Mr Justine Abolo Okello the association’s chairperson who doubles as the head teacher for Lunyiri primary school, Mr Obwoch Tommy the Pader district chairperson education committee.
Others are Ms. Margaret Lalam the Pader district acting Education officer, Mr David Okumu the head teachers’ association treasury, and other members of the association.
Odongo ordered that they be arrested and record statements for the alleged diversion of the UPE Funds with immediate refund dateline on today, 2nd of October 2023.
Earlier, the chairperson of Pader district head teachers’ association defied the district council’s resolution that the association returns the collected UPE funds amounting to over Shs 22million. Abolo said that nobody should stress the association about the money that has been spent. “The money had been spent on the planned activities, it will not be refunded or recovered. it was used for developmental activities for the benefit of the education sector in the district,” he stated.
A total of 74 schools collected Shs 300,000 and some collected below that amount.
Mr Komakech (suspect), however; narrated that most Government schools have either received or are in the process of receiving the fund from the association as refund. He earlier admitted the errors and blamed the association for acting erroneously contrary to the government set guidelines under the UPE.
He said that these funds are always given by the Government to support various activities which he warned about misuse of the funds. “Such practice of the association undermines government efforts in improving the education sector in the country,” he explained, urging the school heads to always account for funds spent.
Mr Lawoko Felix, the Atanga sub-county councilor V and a member of the district education committee explains that the chairperson of the association failed to appear before the committee after he was summoned to explain the saga surrounding the UPE fund. The Pader district chairperson Mr Fearless Obwoya Oyat, however, while responding to the concern after it was alleged by the leader of opposition (LOP) Mr Vincent Obutu, that the District Executive Committee (DEC) members were behind the saga, refuted the allegations.
“I suggest that part of the money had been used by the head teachers’ association members. If any member(s) of the DEC is involved, the association must reveal it.” He explained. Obwoya said that the association has until to 2nd of November 2023 to refund the cash, warning that this also tarnishes the image of the executive members.
The Pader district council earlier resolved in September 2023 that the fund be refunded before 14th of September 2023, but the resolution was given a deaf ear to date.
A total of 74 schools collected Shs 300,000 and some collected below that amount. Abolo refuted the claims that a total of 107 schools collected the Shs 300,000.