Leaders in Acholi in the sub-region are puzzled by hundreds of ghost names that have infiltrated the Attorney General’s registers for war claimants.
The ghost claimants are part of the names that have been verified by the Government through the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs due for compensation beginning this month.
It follows the government release of sh150 billion in September 2021 to compensate war claimants in Acholi, Lango, and Teso, with each region entitled to shs 50 billion.
In Acholi, out of the 23,000 claimants verified, only 16,946 names have been confirmed for compensation.
Statistics from the Ministry indicate that Gulu and Omoro District combined have the majority of the claimants with 4,927 followed by Agago with 3,393; Nwoya 1,995, Kitgum 1,983, Amuru 1,470 and Lamwo 1,408.
However, Dr Freddy Oyat, the Secretary of the war claimants’ compensation committee, says many of the lists displayed at noticeboards of different District and Sub-County headquarters have ghost names.
For instance, in Kitgum District, Dr. Oyat revealed that they have discovered that the number of claimants verified in the Attorney General’s register is 1,983 but the list on display has 1,547 claimants with an excess of 436 people.
Again in Lamwo, Dr. Oyat explains that over 50 ghost names have been discovered. He says that the whereabouts of the claimants cannot be traced among the 1,408 claimants, adding that such an unexplained discrepancy has raised eyebrows.
The Chairperson of the Compensation Committee, Retired Justice Galdino Okello Moro disclosed that the Attorney General has excluded 6,054 out of the 23,000 claimants from the list and that the number of claimants’ livestock have also been arbitrarily reduced without proper explanation.
The leaders in the region who spoke to URN during different interviews have tasked the Attorney General’s office to exonerate itself and thoroughly investigate the individuals who have been fraudulently added to the list of the war claimants.
Geoffrey Okello, the Nwoya East County MP argues that compensation of the claimants that has dragged on for the past 18 years have been marred by fraud and urged the Attorney General’s office to investigate and prosecute the culprits.
Anthony Akol, the Chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) and Kilak North legislator, suspect there is a syndicate in the Attorney General’s office that wants to benefit from the compensation project.
Akol said in September, MPs blocked the Attorney General from presenting a report in Parliament to enable them to harmonize pertinent compensation issues but later Government through Resident District Commissioners and District Internal Security Officers embarked on a fresh and parallel verification exercise of the claimants stealthily, raising suspicions.
On Thursday last week, the Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi, met Acholi leaders and claimants at Bomah Hotel in Gulu City.
He assured the leaders that the names that don’t appear on the current compensation list will be included in the second cohort.
Kafuuzi and denied accusations that his office was responsible for adding the ghost claimants. He revealed that Government was willing to pay each claimant, sh 1 million for each head of cattle up from sh600,000.