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Gulu Suspends Charcoal Auction Over Corruption Scandals

Gulu district revenue officials led by Tom Orik Oryem, the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer came under fire from the activists and the dealers forcing them to abort an ongoing auction at Bomah Grounds, behind Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu Town.
Gulu District Police Commander Emmanuel Mafundo Commanding Operations To Rescue the Impounded Charcoals From Being Burnt By The Irate Youth

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Gulu district has suspended the auctioning of impounded bags of charcoal over alleged scandals of corruption and illegal procedures.  

The suspension was announced amidst tensions mounted by charcoal dealers and a group of environmental activists in the Northern Uganda town on Monday.

The charcoal was being sold at 15,000 and 30,000 shillings for single and twin bags respectively.  

Gulu district revenue officials led by Tom Orik Oryem, the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer came under fire from the activists and the dealers forcing them to abort an ongoing auction at Bomah Grounds, behind Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu Town.

They accused the officials of double taxation, corruption and illegally releasing some of the 14 trucks impounded from Palaro Sub county on Thursday with charcoal on transit without movement permits in the night.

Janet Lakot, one of the dealers said her bags of charcoal where instead impounded after she had paid to transport 70 bags of charcoal to Busia.

//Cue in: “I paid for 100 bags…

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Maliza Akiteng, a charcoal dealer from Mbale district said the district revenue officials have been impounding their charcoal after issuing them with movement permits. She said she was forced to buy back her impounded charcoal at 2.2 Million shillings.

The traders accused the district revenue officials of withdrawing the receipts they issued as they bought back their charcoal and bonding each truck at shillings 700,000. This prompted youth under the “Our Trees, we need Answers”, a loose coalition of environmentalists in Gulu to demand the destruction of the impounded bags of charcoal.  

Some of the youth set ablaze some bags of charcoal after the auction was aborted.    

Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, Gulu district chairperson said it was wrong for the district officials to sell back the impounded charcoal to their owners.

//Cue in: “When an illegal product…

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Phillip Opolot Atugonza, the deputy chief and administrative officer said the revenue officials will investigated following the complaints. He says Gulu has been auctioning impounded charcoal since President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni issued a directive restricting trade in forest products in the region in April this year. 

In neighbouring Amuru and Nwoya districts, auction of charcoal was suspended after the two local governments realized that the impounded charcoal bags were being bought back by the people from whom they were impounded.