The Inspectorate of Government (IG) has warned local leaders in Acholi sub–region against using government funds to contribute towards the funeral of the late speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah. Oulanyah who is set to be buried this Friday passed away last month in Seattle, USA.
A resolution by LC V chairpersons in districts in Acholi sub–region resolved that all districts contribute towards the burial of the deceased. The leaders argued that the money would help transport mourners to and from the burial grounds in Lalogi sub–county in Omoro district. Part of the money would also be given to the deceased’s family as condolence fees.
On March 29, Pader chief administrative officer, Alex Chelimo wrote a letter directing town clerks and sub–county chiefs in the district to each contribute at least Shs 800,000. He however recalled the letter after the IGG said the decision was illegal and attracts penalties.
Geoffrey Matovu, the regional inspectorate officer in Gulu says that it would be double expenditure if the districts in Acholi use money from the government vote to contribute to the funeral since Oulanyah will be accorded a state funeral.
“If you don’t have a budget for this, if you have not budgeted for this and the central government has not released money to you for this particular function, where are you going to get this money from, from which vote, from which activity? And when you divert such money from that activity what happens to that activity. And also this is a state funeral, this was a head of one the the three arms of government, the central government took over the entire process and it is facilitating the entire process and therefore there is no need for any particular lower local government to again use government funds to purportedly facilitate the same exercise,” said Matovu.
He disclosed that a number of other districts in Acholi are going ahead with their contributions but that it should not be in accordance with the resolutions of the district chairpersons since it’s illegal.
“I have information that indeed the districts are contributing money towards that cause. One, to transport their people to go and attend the burial, and two, to send condolences to the bereaved family. Now, how they are doing it is the issue. So far we have not received any other complaint from any other district that they are using government funds to facilitate these activities or pay condolences – that sort of thing the way Pader was doing it but we’re aware that they are contributing money towards that cause. My guidance and advice would be that yes let contributions be made, it is in our culture that when we lose our dear ones, we pay condolences and make these contributions. Let the contributions be made at an individual level, well wishers but not government funds,” added Matovu.
Sisto Oyet, the Lamwo district LC V chairperson says that he was surprised to learn that Pader wanted to use money from the local government accounts. He also refutes claims that they passed a resolution to contribute money from their local government accounts. According to Oyet, the district chairpersons agreed to contribute money from individuals and well-wishers towards the funeral.