The Acholi Parliamentary Group have demanded that the trials of the officials involved in the Prime Minister’s Office (OPM) scandal be taken to Northern Uganda for the local people first hand justice.
The MPs say that since the money that was stolen in the OPM was meant to help the people of Northern Uganda under the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), they are the ones that the suspects should be accountable to.
According to the Auditor General’s report, over 50 billion shillings meant to fund PRDP activities was misappropriated by the OPM staff. This forced some donor countries to withdraw their aid and to demand that government refunds the money.
Already, government has complied by refunding at least 14 billion shillings Irish aid fund on January 8 this year, and another 10.7 billion shillings to the Norwegian government a month later.
While addressing journalists at parliament, the vice chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group Lowila Oketayot said that government should not only refund the money to the donors but also to the people of Northern Uganda. She said the architects of the PRDP theft are worse than the perpetuators of the LRA insurgency.
She added that the Acholi MPs are liaising with people in the Diaspora to have these cases opened at the International Criminal Court so that the suspects are investigated in relation to the millions who lost their lives in Northern Uganda.
She said that government owes it to the people of Northern Uganda because they were the beneficiaries of the funds that were stolen.
The MPs also recommend that the donor community imposes a travel ban on all the implicated officials and their families. They appealed to the donors not to withdraw aid but rather find mechanisms of committing the funds directly to the affected people not through the central government.
They also demand that government stops applying selective prosecution if justice is to be served and the vice of corruption fought successfully.
The MPs threatened to have the minister in charge of the region forced to resign because she has not done anything about the situation. Kilak County MP Gilbert Oulanya said that the minister in charge of northern Uganda, Rebecca Otengo, does not know her work.