Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja on Tuesday directed for the immediate blacklisting of a company that supplied the government with substandard blankets and mosquito nets that were supposed to be supplied to flood victims in Kasese.
The Prime Minister also questioned the quality of beans that had been given to the flood victims, saying that they were equally poor and not good for human consumption.
Nabbanja directed the officials responsible for procurement of the substandard items to be held liable and ordered they organize another assortment by the close of business on Wednesday for delivery.
“The relief items are substandard and therefore, I have directed that let the nets and the blankets be returned back to Kampala because they are substandard, other items are okay we can use them but we are going to seat with the relevant ministers and assess the situation,” Nabbanja noted.
Nabbanja was on Tuesday airlifted to Kasese at the district headquarters in Rukoki to meet with local leaders and technocrats to assess the impact of floods on locals after River Nyamwamba burst its banks.
The flooding had affected scores of villages with the residents being left homeless and in dire need of food after their crops, homes and animals were swept away by the raging floods.
Nabbanja unearthed the fraud in the exaggerated number of the displaced affected persons and the substandard relief items that were supposed to be supplied
“The number they reported is not the number I have seen there. They are fewer. I am refusing the blankets. They should go back to Kampala and we buy better things. We cannot supply these fake things to the people. That company is blacklisted and the staff who allowed the procurement of the fake items will be held responsible and might even lose the job,” Nabbanja said.
She noted that the blankets were extremely light and they could not serve their intended purpose and that the nets were too small for someone to use.
Local leaders welcomed the move by the Prime Minister with the Kasese district chairperson noting that “Shoddy work is done. The one who did it should be responsible.”
Chance Kahindo the Kasese mayor appreciated Nabbanja for her stand against corruption and noted that they appreciated President Yoweri Museveni had given them people who would fight the vice.
Florence Kabugho the area Woman MP noted that besides River Nyamwamba there was also River Mobuku and River Lubiriha among others that have always flooded but nobody was talking about them and asked the government to find a lasting solution to the issue.
The Office of the Prime Minister is not new to scandals. In 2018 it was hit by a scandal of abuse of funds for refugees, and the UN and other major donors asking the government to take action on the culprits.
Last year, senior officers at the OPM were arrested and charged in court over the COVID-19 relief food purchasing scandal after they reportedly bought substandard goods that were supplied to vulnerable people in the districts of Kampala and Wakiso.
By Charles Etukuri