COVID-19 Relief Food Lt Col Edith Nakalema
COVID-19 Relief Food: Lt Col Edith Nakalema arrests Permanent Secretary Christine Gwatudde. FILE PHOTO

Lt Col Nakalema arrests office of the Prime Minister Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde for inflating COVID-19 relief food prices

The State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema has arrested the Permanent Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister, Christine Kintu Guwatudde, the Accounting Officer, Joel Wanjala, Fred Lutimba, the Assistant Commissioner Procurement, and the Commissioner for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, Martin Oworover COVID-19 relief food.

The four individuals were arrested on Thursday 9 April 9, 2020, by Lt. Col Edith Nakalema, and handed over to Police over allegations that they inflated prices of posho and beans meant for the underprivileged families in the COVID-19 relief.

“The Permanent Secretary Ms Guwatudde Kintu, the Accounting Officer, Mr Joel Wanjala, the Assistant Commissioner Procurement, Mr Fred Lutimba and the Commissioner Disaster Management (Head COVID-19 Relief Management), Mr Martin Owor have all been arrested to help with the ongoing investigations,” Nakalema said.

Nakalema revealed that the officers under arrest are said to have rejected companies like MMax Investment Limited, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) which offered lower prices for the procurement of beans and posho and instead opted to sign a deal with companies which offered higher prices.

“Evidence of well-known and credible suppliers who offered lower prices and the accounting officers in the OPM rejected the lower offers and they instead took on the higher ones whom some we are doubting capacity,” Nakalema revealed.

“Our investigations will dig deep but the preliminary investigations have shown that some of those given to supply is even not prequalified, they are not among the prequalified suppliers of OPM,” she added.

The four officials were then handed over to the police for further investigations.

“The criminal Investigation Department has kick-started investigations into the alleged hiking of prices during the procurement of the food that was meant to be distributed to different parts of the country,” the Deputy Police Spokesperson Kampala Metropolitan, Luke Owoyesigire said.

Permanent secretary Christine Kintu Guwatudde arrested
Permanent secretary Christine Kintu Guwatudde arrested over COVID-19 relief food

Their arrests follow the presidential directive to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit Boss, Lt Col Edith Nakalema instructing her to investigate irregularities in the procurement of relief items for COVID-19.

“The President directed me on Wednesday, April 8 to investigate the irregularities that were highlighted in the procurement of food relief. We carried out a special criminal investigation on the on-going related food procurement exercise in the office of the Prime Minister,” Nakalema said.

Also, the Anti-Corruption Unit arrested business tycoon Abid Alam over the Mubende land wrangles where the scores were injured.

The Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema says Mr Abid is being investigated over the alleged atrocities including attempted murder and unlawful destruction of properties in Bukoba, Kasanda District.

“Mr Abid Alam with his lawyer here to record a statement about these terrible acts that happened, destruction of homes, the cutting of plantations,” Nakalema said.

“They have also handed over two suspects Abid Alam and a colleague at the Criminal Investigation Department. There was an allegation that he was involved in acts of violence that also led to reports of rape in Kasanda,” Deputy Police Spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire said.