By Max Patrick Ocaido
PARLIAMENT. Lira district officials have pinned former Education minister Jessica Alupo over the controversial Shs665m Akii-Bua Stadium cash.
While appearing before the parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) chaired by Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among on Wednesday, Lira Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mark Tivu pinned the then Education minister Alupo for giving a controversial directive to compensate occupants of land meant for construction of Akii-Bua Stadium yet this was government land.
In his defence, Tivu said that the local government was only tasked to do preliminary works, but admitted that indeed government remitted Shs665m which came in 3 phases and that part of the money was used to construct a pavilion and a latrine.
However, when MPs questioned why the Lira District Local Government authority decided to compensate occupants of the land yet it belonged to government, Tivu said that he got a directive from Alupo to compensate the occupants and that the Education ministry went ahead to compensate the people in contrary to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the district and Education ministry.
“The site of the land was swampy and there were no crops, but I got a directive from then Education minister Jessica Alupo to compensate the people. But I only sent the list of the beneficiaries to the ministry and it is the ministry that paid the money. My work was simply to do preliminary works,” Tivu said.
Indeed, Omara Apiita, the Commissioner for Physical Education in the Ministry of Education and Sports admitted that the ministry spent another Shs276m to compensate the people, but it was not from the Shs665m.
The MPs wondered why the Education ministry continued to interfere with the activities of the construction of Akii-Bua Stadium without consultations from National Council for Sports that is mandated to implement the project.
“This takes us to what happened last week where we observed that the Education ministry is bypassing the National Council for Sports and this explains why the stadium even has no architectural design,” Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante said.
Mbarara Municipality MP Michael Tusiime later moved a motion in accordance with Parliament Rules of Procedure to have the district officials handed over to the CID for adducing contradicting evidence after the CAO Tivu earlier said that they used part of the money to compensate the people, but later changed goal posts to pin Alupo for spearheading the illegal compensation process.
In her ruling, Cosase chair Anita Among handed over CAO Tivu and district engineer Hudson Omoko to CID to allow them give further evidence.
This is not the first time this committee has detained a government official over Akii-Bua Stadium. Just last week, Cosase detained Lamed Omara Apiita, the Commissioner for Physical Education over the same.