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Agago Field Extension Worker Accused of Forging Tree Project Accountability

The matter came to the limelight after Denis Makmot, the owner of the private teak tree forest sought the intervention of the district leaders to apprehend Felix Okidi, the field extension officer attached to Mura parish in Wol Sub County, who reportedly took photos of his teak tree species under unclear circumstances.

Audio 4

An agricultural field extension officer in Agago district is being accused of falsifying accountability documents by taking photos from a private forest with the intent of awarding funding to another tree-planting group.

The councillor representing Lira Kato Sub County Alexanda Okidi says the matter came to the limelight after Denis Makmot, the owner of the private teak tree forest sought the intervention of the district leaders to apprehend Felix Okidi, the field extension officer attached to Mura parish in Wol Sub County, who reportedly took photos of his teak tree species under unclear circumstances.

Okidi says that Makmot, who is also the village chairperson for Juba Cell in Guda ward, became suspicious about the intention of the photographs taken without his consent by a person who is attached to the neighbouring Mura parish. 

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Denis Maktot says upon receiving information of trespassing in his tree farm, he confronted the official who failed to give him a satisfactory response prompting him to report the matter to district leaders for intervention.   He says that further inquiries into the matter indicate that Okidi took the photos with an intention of presenting accountability and seeking a reward to the Rwot-Dit Tree Planting Group in Kabala Juba village.

According to Makmot, the Project for Restoration of Livelihood in Northern Uganda (PRELNOR),  that Okidi is overseeing is slated to award the best tree-planting group in the Sub County with 21 million Shillings under its additional funding scheme. But, he says, the group earmarked to receive the award had planted citrus and not teak trees as has been represented.

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Felix Okidi, the accused field extension officer declined to comment on the allegations saying he is not entitled to talk to the press.  But Richard Stanley Odong, the Councilor representing Wol Sub County says Okidi has acknowledged having taken the photos which he says he was using as examples of best practices while offering advisory services to other tree farmers.  

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The outgoing Resident District Commissioner of Agago Andrew Onyuk confirmed receiving the concern although he says preliminary investigations indicate that the complainant could be engaging in foul play since he was once a member of the group he is now accusing.  Onyuk says that disciplinary action will be taken once investigations conclude that Okidi was manipulating the process.

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The Agago Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Oloya Gunya confirms having received the concern saying the District Natural Resource Department is directed to investigate the matter and present a report before administrative action is effected.