According to some beneficiaries, they were meant to receive 226,000 shillings, but were shocked to find 160,000 shillings.
Beneficiaries of the Acholi War Debt Claimants Association in Agago district are protesting the unexplained deductions on their compensation monies. They accuse the executive of deducting up to 66,000 shillings from their accounts without their consent. According to some beneficiaries, they were meant to receive 226,000 shillings but were shocked to find only 160,000 shillings on their accounts. They also claim that when the compensation process started they were told open accounts in any bank, but to their surprise some banks have been rejected by the executive.
They say the affected members were ordered to open new accounts in Bank of Africa Patongo Branch. Denis Odyeny, a resident of Patongo East in Patongo town council says that they wasted a lot of following up on the compensation but they are now receiving peanuts. He blames the leadership of Acholi War Debt Claimants Association for confusing members. He wonders why they were initially asked to open accounts with any bank, which have now been rejected. Okello Alijeu, a resident of Acholpii Lapono, Arum sub-county says the money they are receiving is not even sufficient to buy one bull.
He says after struggling to access their money for years, they are only being paid a flat rate of 160,000 shillings yet some of them lost hundreds of animals. Alijeu says all the members are being forced to pay annual subscription, membership fees, and court fees. He wonders why the money is deducted from their accounts when they had already paid all the necessary charges. Alijeu also says lawyers deducted their fees from the money released by government and wonders why they are being forced to pay again. He is seeking an explanation before taking the next step.
Aciro Eromina, a resident of Beo Ajok ward in Lotome parish in Lira Palwoo sub-county accuses the executive of corruption. She says the leaders are all local people who should have worked for the betterment of the local community instead of turning against the members. Despite the complaints raised by the members, the executive has remained defiant claiming that they did not commit any crime.
Constantine Odong Yayiro, the chairperson Acholi War Debt Claimants’ Association in Agago district denies forcing members to open accounts with Bank of Africa.
He says the decision was taken by the regional office in Gulu which his executive only implemented. He also says the deductions are genuine and asks members to stop complaining. He has advised the members to remain calm as the executive organizes meetings to offer an explanation on what was done. The compensation of war claimants in districts in Acholi region has been marred by allegations of corruption.