Iron Sheets Theft: Government Exhibits Political Will to Fight Corruption

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The government, through the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, uncovered the theft of iron sheets under the Karamoja Community Empowerment Program. The iron sheets were part of interventions made by government to aid groups of youth and older persons in the Karamoja sub-region but ended up in possession of Ministers and MPs.

The Ministers involved in the Karamonja iron sheet saga had shared out the iron sheets and comfortably denied the recipients a right to decent housing, until the no-nonsense Anti-Corruption Unit stepped in. Following a tip from a whistleblower, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit unearthed evidence of corruption in the Prime Minister’s office, and under President Museveni’s directive, the case was handed over to police and the Director of Public Prosecutions for further action.

According to Police spokesperson Fred Enanga, joint investigations kicked off, and so far, three ministers have been arrested and arraigned in court to defend themselves against the allegations, and more are yet to be called upon to respond to the allegations.

“We are continuing to pursue a joint prosecution inquiry into the alleged theft of iron sheets for Karamoja; the task is to be handled by a joint team with officers from the DPP, CID, and the State House Anti-Corruption Unit. The president directed for an expeditious inquiry into the allegations, and this followed increased complaints from the intended beneficiaries and other concerned citizens,” Enanga told journalists.

According to President Yoweri Museveni, all officials who diverted iron sheets meant for Karamonja to personal use will be handled appropriately.

“Those who diverted Mbaati for personal use must return them or pay back the equivalent, as that is theft. The program has to go on,” the president said.

The government has started investigations on all those implicated in the scandal, and all who were part of it will be prosecuted, punished, or otherwise dealt with.

With the mounting pressure from government, some of those involved in the diversion have started returning the iron sheets, and government making sure the quality and quantity match the original iron sheets provided.

The provision of iron sheets to the Karamojongs was a welcome and celebrated idea amongst citizens but was overshadowed by their diversion. The government, through the Anti-Corruption Unit, Uganda Police, and Director of Public Prosecutions, among others, is working hard to make sure the relief items are delivered to the intended persons.

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