The Police on Friday made a shocking discovery when it landed on several relief items hidden away at the home of Martin Owor, one of the four senior officers at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) who were arrested on Thursday.
The police working with the State House anti-corruption searched Owor’s country home in the Eastern Uganda district of Tororo as part of the investigations into the mismanagement of funds meant for procurement of foodstuffs for distristribution to households affected by the current lockdown intended to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Owor, the commissioner for disaster management at OPM together with the Permanent Secretary, Christine Guwatudde Kintu, Joel Wanjala (accounting officer) and Fred Lutimba (assistant commissioner for procurement) are currently detained at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Kireka, near Kampala.
Owor who also heads COVID-19 relief management at OPM led the detectives to his home at Maguria, Nyangole parish, Rubongi sub-county where he kept several bags of maize flour, beans, iron sheets, jerry-cans, cups and tarpaulin covers among other relief items donated by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The items are believed to have been intended for refugees that are hosted in different refugee camps inside Uganda.
It is not clear how these relief items ended up here but two years ago, in February 2018, OPM was embroiled in a scandal of mismanagement of refugee funds – forcing some donor countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), Japan and Germany to suspend direct funding to Uganda’s refugee program.
The head of the State House anti-corruption unit Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema said that the raid on Owor’s was based on suspicion that some items were hidden there.
The items were transferred to Tororo Police Station. Tororo District Police Commander (DPC) Rogers Chebene said that they had opened investigations to establish whether Owor’s home was a proper destination for the relief items.