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COVID-19: Uganda officials face jail over food prices

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Officials face 5 years in prison for corruption in relief food packages for vulnerable

KAMPALA, Uganda

Four senior government officials in Uganda are facing five years in jail for raising food prices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, head of the anti-corruption authority, said the arrests came “following reports that they rejected prequalified suppliers who were offering lower prices for maize and beans”.

Instead, they awarded contracts to suppliers offering inflated prices.

“The inflated figure caused government a loss in excess of $528,000 in the first phase alone representing 5% of the total procurement,” he said.

The officials include the Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, accounting officer Joel Wanjala, Assistant Commissioner Procurement Fred Lutimba and COVID19 Relief Management head Martin Owor.

If found guilty, the officials will be charged with abuse of office and facilitating fraud.

The relief food was announced by President Yoweri Museveni for the most vulnerable Ugandans who were affected by the two-week government lockdown to curb further spread of COVID-19.

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