By Fred Kiva
As the State House Anti-Corruption Unit continues its inquest into the alleged inflation of the covid19 relief food prices, the Unit head Lt Col Edith Nakalema says unscrupulous people are peddling lies involving her office in the procurement exercise.
“It has come to the attention of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit that there is misinformation being peddled by certain individuals regarding the Unit’s role in contracting of suppliers, determining of prices and the quality of foodstuffs under the ongoing covid19 related procurement exercise,” Lt Nakalema said in a statement. She added; “This is to categorically state that I as head of SH-ACU or any other staff of the Unit are not in any way involved in determining the suppliers, the prices and quality of the COVID-19 related food procurement exercise.”
Nakalema, whose team together with the Police Directorate of Criminal Investigation (CID), on Thursday arrested four officials of Office of the Prime Minister over alleged bribery, describes the misinformation as malicious and diversionary. She maintains, however, “We nevertheless remain steadfast in the pursuit of our mandate to investigate cases of corruption and to ensure that the culprits face the full force of the law.”
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police are currently investigating the OPM Permanent Secretary Christine Gwatudde, Martin Owor (the Commissioner Disaster Preparedness also the head of COVID-19 relief management), Joel Wanjala (the Assistant Commissioner Procurement) and Fred Lutimba (the Commissioner Disaster Management).
The four officials were arrested last week over alleged inflation of the relief food prices and also reportedly turning away contractors that were willing to supply government at lower prices. The supply contract was awarded to Aponye Uganda Ltd.
The government is currently distributing maize flour and beans to vulnerable people affected by the covid19 lockdown. The national distribution exercise started from Kampala and Wakiso districts. It will be rolled out to other areas.