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Adjumani NFA Staff in Trouble for Alleged Illegal Sale of Impounded Timber

Speaking to URN in an interview, Atine said that he had learnt with shock that Ojambo had illegally disposed of the timber prompting him to file a formal complaint with Adjumani Resident State Attorney.
A copy of letter from Adjumani RSA written to Police -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Adjumani Resident State Attorney has directed police to investigate accusations of the illegal sale of 572 pieces of impounded timbers levelled against Stephen Ojambo, a staff of the National Forestry Authority –NFA.  

In his April 13th letter to the District Criminal Investigations Officer, the Adjumani Resident State Attorney, Swaliki Kiswiriri Munya, says that he is in receipt of a complaint against Ojambo for the fraudulent disposal of the timber. 

“We are in receipt of a complaint where the above officer is alleged to have fraudulently sold/dispose of exhibits (timber) in a pending case of Uganda Vs Atine Odongo Muzendo CRB 146/2021,” read the letter. Adding that “Therefore you are hereby advised to have this matter fully investigated and forwarded for advice.”   

According to information obtained by our reporter, the timber in question was impounded in March in a joint crackdown by police, UWA and NFA officials. The officers also impounded power saws and a TATA lorry that was transporting the timber.  

The truck was however released after offloading the timbers at the NFA’s office in Adjumani. Odongo appeared before the magistrate’s court on charges of the illegal sale of forest products and was released on bail. 

Speaking to URN in an interview, Atine said that he had learnt with shock that Ojambo had illegally disposed of the timber prompting him to file a formal complaint with Adjumani Resident State Attorney. 

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He also accuses Ojambo of fraudulently impounding his timbers on grounds that he had cut trees from Zoka Central Forest Reserve, which is false. He says he hired land from locals in Apaa Village in Itirikwa Sub –County in Adjumani District where he planted the trees.    

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Ojambo has dismissed the allegations levelled against him; saying that he only impounded five power saws belonging to Atine, which are in police custody. He explains that he impounded the power saws when he found Atine and his seven employees illegally cutting trees in Zoka Central Forest Reserve. 

Daniel Comboni, the National Forestry Authority Manager in Adjumani district, says that the complaints against Ojambo are false, adding that Atine is an illegal timber dealer who has been arrested several times.

Godwin Ocaki, the Adjumani District Police Commander told URN in an interview that they have opened a general inquiry file following the directive from the Resident State Attorney.