Special Reports

Exclusive: Embattled OPM Commissioner Writes To DPP

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see http://debbiehowes.com/wp-content/plugins/events-manager/em-wpfc.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Owor was last year relieved of his duties after an investigation by the Auditor General, there John Muwanga, viagra approved discovered that he was involved in payment for ghost food supplies to Northern Uganda that saw government lose almost shs10bn in the infamous OPM scam.

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Muwanga also found out that Owor connived with suppliers of fuel to OPM to inflate payments.

“I would like to appeal against a recommendation for my prosecution which was made by an officer of the DPP’s office in the case reference E/050/2013,” wrote Owor in a leaked letter to the DPP dated July 1, 2013.

“I am appealing for the DPP’s second opinion on the matter. The officer in the DPP’s office who perused the file and preferred charges against me based herself on a biased investigation Mr Patrick Oburu who relied himself on wild, unsubstantiated and malicious accusations by one Mrs Mariam Nyangoma Immaculate in Disaster Preparedness Officer of the Prime Minister,” said Owor.

He further noted that the case arose from payments made by the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the OPM on Byangoma’s personal account following her written request to the PS for funds to carry out a field activity which was in her work pLan and in line with her schedule of duties.

“It is a requirement that all requests for funds to the accounting officer pass through the relevant Head of Department. Being the head of Disaster Department, Nyangoma’s request came to my desk and I did my normal duty of cross-checking that her planned activities were within the mandate of the department and that they were on budget.”

Owor further states that he learnt from CIID headquarters that Nyangoma alleged that she shared out the funds instead of using it for activities as clearly stated in her request.

“I would like to categorically state at no time did he give t me any money which she received on her personal account for official duties. I should therefore not be prosecuted basing on allegations by a person,” added Owor.

However, officials told Chimpreports on Monday that Oburu is trying to evade the long arm of the law after being caught up in an intricate web of dubious and illegal financial transactions that triggered a donor aid suspension.

OWOR PINNED

According to the Parliamentary Accounts Committee report into the plunder of shs50bn from OPM, shs6.9bn was irregularly transferred to the disaster management account on June 27, 2011 from the Norwegian support to Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP).

The committee discovered the donor support funds were fraudulently spent by the Principal Accountant Godfrey Kazinda and Owor “by depositing money on staff personal accounts and accounts of suppliers without requisitions or demand notes being presented.”

“The Committee recommends that the Principal Accountant and the Commissioner Disaster Management, Mr Martin Owor, be investigated with a view to establishing their role in the utilization of these funds,” the PAC report said in part.

PAC revealed that suppliers of OPM were fraudulently paid over and above the amount of food supplies.

For example New Caltex Service Station Ntinda, a fuel station owned by Hussein Katumwa, Ahmed Masembe and Ibrahim Masembe had been supplying fuel to OPM since 2009.

During this period there was a fuel shortage and was approached by Owor to supply fuel to the Department of Refugees and Disaster Management for purposes of delivering food to disaster prone areas in northern and eastern Uganda.

“There were no contractual dealings with OPM but fuel would be taken without a promise to pay. The committee was concerned that the fuel station had dealings with a government department without a formal contract,” the angered MPs wrote in their report which will soon be debated in Parliament.

The proprietor, Katumwa, told MPs during a hearing early this year that he took it as a “business risk” to supply fuel to OPM.

“Owor gave him the Order book and payment terms were drawn up. The committee noted that the OPM withdrew 57,000 litres of fuel per day for 4 days at a cost of shs144m per day,” the report reads in part, exposing possible connivance between Owor and Katumwa to steal public funds.

The committee further noted that the petrol station only had the capacity of only 22,000 litres.

The proprietor, Mr Katumwa, in his responses informed committee that he would receive signed vouchers from whoever came with them from OPM, make an invoice for payment at the end of every month and forward them to Owor.

Katumwa further acknowledged having received a payment of shs526m and the documentation forwarded to Owor. PAC established that this payment was made using a forged security paper.

PAC observed that the “procurement of the fuel station was irregularly executed between Owor and Katumwa and that payments amounting to shs6.8bn were not supported with consumptive documents, a sign that these funds could have been put to personal use.”

MPs resolved that officers involved especially Owor be investigated, prosecuted with the view of recovering sums involved and the fuel station be probed in the role played in the fraud with the view of recovering the funds received for the fuel not supplied.

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