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Encroachers on Police land shock MPs

Legislators have been shocked by the failure by Police to block or evict encroachers on its land in different parts of the country.

Surprisingly, elsewhere Police has been at the forefront in assisting the eviction of persons encroaching on other government and private land.

In his reports of the financial yeas 2015/2016, the Auditor General cited the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as one of the encroachers on Police land in Tororo.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (Central Government) is currently considering the two reports of the Auditor General. On Wednesday, 17 October 2018 a team led by Director Criminal Investigations and Crime Intelligence, AIGP Grace Akullo, appeared before the Committee chaired by Hon. Angelline Osegge (FDC, Soroti district).

"Tororo Police Station land was encroached on by NSSF, while Natete Police Station land was encroached on by 65 illegal occupants," noted Hon. Elly Elias Asiku (NRM, Koboko North), adding that "How will you explain your inability to act on people encroaching on your land?"

Akullo said that it was difficult to engage or evict people or firms that had encroached on Police land, saying court cases dragged progress of evictions.

"Sometimes we find when some people have erected buildings on Police land. It takes a civil court case to get such people off the land, a process that can also take long," she said.

MPs on the committee were also concerned that Police was spending more than the approved budgets leading to arrears.

"In the FY 2015/16, the Auditor General's report indicates that electricity was the most affected standing at over shs17 billion up above the budgeted shs8 billion. How did you overshoot money for payables," asked Hon. Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM, Lwemiyaga).

MPs also noted that 24 pension files had been processed for payment by Uganda Police Force in the FY 2015/2016 without verifying the validity of the pensioners in question, which they say could have contributed to part of arrears in question.

"This report indicates over Shs296 million paid to pensioners without life certificates and an inappropriate discharge of Shs730 million for unplanned activities. How can you work this way?" said Hon. Gerald Karuhanga (Ind., Ntugamo Munic.).

Osegge tasked the Police leadership to present documentation with figures to account for the wanting expenditures highlighted in the Auditor General's report.

"We shall continue to hold this as doubtful expenditure because we are not sure how it was spent and on whom or what it was spent," Osegge said.

Police Accounting Officer, Rogers Muhirwa, attributed arrears amounting to Shs10.8 billion on electricity bills to insufficient budget allocation to utilities including rent, telecommunication, water and electricity.

"I wrote a letter of appeal to the Secretary to the Treasury, to increase the budget for the FY 2016/17 to cater for salary arrears accruing from the FY 2015/16," Muhirwa told the MPs.

The Committee asked the Police team to present documents proving the pending accountability raised in the reports within three months.

Source: Parliament of Uganda

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