By Halima Athumani
Uganda’s Prime Ministry has suspended four government officials over allegations of fraud and misappropriation of funds meant for refugees.
The four include Ugandan Commissioner for Refugees Apollo Kazungu and three of his senior staff.
UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda Rosa Malango had revealed that during reviews of the refugee situation in the country that “certain information was brought to our attention about possible irregularities”.
Malango cast doubts on the number of registered refugees, leading to questions on where funds have gone.
“The resources that we are talking about touch human lives. So it is absolutely unacceptable that any of these resources should be misused,” she told reporters late Thursday.
Malango also pointed to potential cases of abuse. “We’ve heard about allegations of abuse of women and girls. And it’s absolutely fundamental to make sure that we do everything in our power, collectively to protect women and girls, whether they are citizens or refugees.”
A group of investigators from the World Food Programme have reportedly arrived in Uganda to support the investigation.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told journalists: “It's true there have been some report that there may be ghost refugees.”
Calling the matter a small issue, Rugunda said: “The government last week instituted a team from the criminal investigations department to investigate the matter. We are expecting the report and we will deal with it.”
Uganda is home to more than 1.3 million refugees, many of whom are from South Sudan.