Nakapiripirit District council has exonerated three senior officials implicated for alleged abuse of office, embezzlement and corruption.
Nakapiripirit District council has exonerated three senior officials implicated for alleged abuse of office, embezzlement and corruption. They are Patrick Oketayot, Nakapiripirit District Engineer, Procurement Officer Joseph Ngiro Kelai and chief finance officer Kocho Mark D. The three officials have been at the center of a controversy since last year for allegedly squandering about 1 billion shillings from the 11 billion that was allocated to the district in 2009/2010 financial year.
Last week, Rev. Fr Simon Lokodo, the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity asked the trio to step aside to pave way for investigation into their alleged crimes. But On Monday, the district council exonerated the trio of any wrong doing. They also brushed aside an order by Minister Lokodo asking the accused officials to step aside.
Raphael Lorika, the district youth councilor moved a motion to exonerate the officials and declare the allegations against them null and void. He was unanimously supported by the council. They said the allegations against the three heads of departments are false and were orchestrated by propagandists to tarnish their names. They also argued that the probe committee initiated by Janet Museveni, the Minister in charge of Karamoja Affairs to investigate the officials was illegal because it did not follow the right procedure of passing through the council.
The councilors said such investigation can only be sanctioned by the district council. Godfrey Aluma, the Nakapiripirit Resident District Commissioner who was also a member of the probe committee disassociated himself from the committee saying he was forcefully included in it saying that he was not consulted before he was appointed.
Joacham Loyoro, Nakapiripirit district council speaker who chaired the heated meeting accordingly ruled that the allegations against the officials are null and void and exonerated them. Moses KisemboBahemuka, Nakapiripirit District Chief Administrative Officer said he cannot interdict the officials contrary to the order by Minister Lokodo. He said only the council through the Ministry of local government has the power to interdict local government officials.
As the councilors deliberated on the matter, the District Engineer Patrick Oketayot and the Procurement Officer Joseph Ngiro Kelai who were also present in the meeting were seen smiling throughout the debate.
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