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Gov't Fined UGX 30 million over Delayed Reinstatement of Interdicted NUSAF Officials

The officials include Arua District Chief Administrative Officer Ismael Ochengel and his deputy Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, who were interdicted in December 2018 by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government to pave way for investigations into the suspected theft of 509 million Shillings from the district coffers.
The interdicted Arua District CAO Ismail Ochengel.
Two Arua District Officials have been awarded a compensation package of 15 million shillings each over government’s failure to update them on the progress of investigations relating to their interdiction.  

The officials include Arua District Chief Administrative Officer Ismael Ochengel and his deputy Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, who were interdicted in December 2018 by the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Local Government to pave way for investigations into the suspected theft of 509 million Shillings from the district coffers.    

The said money was meant for payment of suppliers of agricultural products and beehives in Arua District under the third phase of the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund- NUSAF III, a matter that was being investigated by the inspectorate of government. 

According to the Public Service Standing Orders, charges against an officer are supposed to be investigated and concluded within a period of three months for cases that do not involve the police and six months for cases that involve police and courts of law. 

But in April 2019 having spent more than three months under investigations, the officials wrote to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government inquiring about the status of investigations on the matter. They wrote subsequent letters in July, September and October with demands to be reinstated on their respective jobs. 

However, the officials did not get any feedback prompting them to seek redress before the court.  During the hearing, Solome Mwanja, an officer from the Inspectorate of Government said that the former IGG Irene Mulyagonja had advised the Permanent Secretary of Local Government to lift the suspension.  Mwanja presented letters to prove the instruction.  

Today, High Court Judge Musa Sekaana faulted the government for the interdiction and ruled that the letter by the IGG seemed to have settled the matter. He added that Public Officers have a duty to respond to inquiries sent to them from the various public servants in order to promote good administration. 

The Judge has accordingly awarded the applicants 15 million Shillings each for the inconveniences.

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