In a shocking revelation, the Public Accounts Committee on Local Government has confirmed that the person who was called live on broadcast TV and radio by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja as the first recipient of the COVID-19 relief fund is not who he claimed to be.

Benson Ongom
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja calls Oloya on phone.

Geoffrey Oloya made headlines as the first beneficiary of the COVID-19 relief fund meant for vulnerable people. At the launch of the relief fund disbursement on July 9, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja made a call to Oloya to confirm if he had received the money and indeed, the ‘Boda Boda man joyfully affirmed.

Alas, the Boda Boda Association of Gulu City has since distanced itself from such person known as Oloya, while the Public Accounts Committee on Local Government headed by former Gulu District Chairperson Ojara Martin Mapenduzi has discovered that Oloya is an assistant to the Town Mayor.

“The people who were sent to register did their job but when it reached data entry, names were changed, they brought in people whose identity is not known. Some of them were made to be Boda Bodas, others made to be drivers when they are actually not,” Mapenduzi lamented.

The Committee also discovered that money meant for vulnerable groups ended up in the hands of LC III chairpersons, former division mayors, politicians, councillors and staff in council offices where the whole data compilation was fraudulently hijacked.

Nakut Faith Loru, the woman MP for Napak District and member of the committee also expressed dismay at the actions of the Gulu District administration.

“This is not the Gulu I knew, it is sad to find out that the people who actually benefited from the relief fund are not the people who should have. It is really painful,” Nakut stated.

At least 11,000 names were raised from Gulu as vulnerable members who required the relief fund, the committee has also discovered that besides presenting the wrong people, the number was also inflated.

“The worst part is, those who had no telephone contacts were dumped and replaced by those who you can not even trace,” Amos Okot, MP for Agago North said.

The committee blamed the leadership of Gulu City for manipulating the process to fit their ends.

“There are leaders who manipulated the process and were instructed data entry officials to fill in the names that they brought in total disregard of the procedures,” Mapenduzi remarked.

A shocked Chairperson of Boda Boda cyclists in Gulu City, Justine Paul Ochola also confirmed that they have not heard of one Godfrey Oloya.

“There is nothing like Oloya Godfrey in our system, the people they gave money to are not known, yet if they had used our association’s office, they would have got the right people because all our members are registered,” Ochola said.