The State House Anti-Corruption Unit, led by Ochwo Israel (Deputy Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit), addressed the media on Friday at St. Lira Hotel regarding the contentious issues surrounding land matters in Lira.
Key points in their address included the unit’s operations, the land issues in Lira City and Lira District, investigation reports in Lira, and reports related to those taken to court. Additionally, recent media reports from Lango were discussed.
According to Deputy Head of the unit, Israel Ochwo, in the fight against corruption in Lira City and Lira District, 22 people have been arraigned in court with several charges, and four have been convicted. He urged community members to write to the head of the unit if they feel a particular officer has not performed well on the ground. Ochwo mentioned that senior lawyers review these cases.
The individuals named by the Anti-Corruption Unit Deputy Head are as follows:
- Lawrence Okello
- Okwir Joel (former area land committee chairperson)
- Ateng Francis
- Ocen Joseph
- Kabahize Julios
- Ogangi Walter
- Ogweng Patrick (former Deputy town clerk)
- Omara (former physical planner)
- Okello Francis Olwa (former secretary district land board)
- Otuke Fabius (head of natural resources department)
- Along Joseph
- Opio Bazil Erambo
- Atto Rebecca
- Ojuka Anthony
These individuals are facing charges related to irregular titling, the sale of parts of the Mayor’s garden, land owned by the district on plot 41 Church Road, irregular sale of railways land, fraudulent activities, and abuse of office.
According to Detective SP Sowede Mohammed, an investigator attached to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, many cases in Lira are now in court. As officers of the law, they refrain from discussing matters that are before the court.
Sowede emphasized that investigations are a lengthy process, and the unit retrieves crucial documents for examination. The document retrieved during the standoff between the city and the district was considered important until new accounting officers were appointed in both Lira City and Lira District.
Ochwo clarified that there were complaints about the Anti-Corruption Unit, alleging they were witch-hunting businessmen in Lira. He refuted these claims and encouraged the public to address grievances by writing to the head of the unit.
He acknowledged that the unit is returning with more cases against politicians and technocrats in the district and city. Responding to claims of selectivity, Ochwo explained that the unit operates with a small team of six lawyers and 15 detectives, presenting a challenge.
Regarding accusations of charging some suspects while leaving others, Ochwo stated, “We are not selective.” He mentioned that Brig. Henry Isoke is engaged in the Acholi sub-region.
Lira RCC Lawrence Emmy Egole called upon leaders to recognize that condoning corruption is a form of corruption itself. He thanked journalists in Lira for their role in exposing corruption-related issues in Lango.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit, from December 2018 to the present, has charged 543 people, including 292 civil servants, 251 private individuals, and 42 security personnel. Currently, 126 cases are pending, and 51 billion shillings have been recovered.