Shs2.8bn payout to war debt claimants bounces over dormant accounts

Shs2.8bn payout to war debt claimants bounces over dormant accounts
AG Kiryowa Kiwanuka | Courtesy

More than Shs2.8 billion disbursed to the accounts of war debt claimants from Acholi, Lango, and Teso sub-regions have bounce.

Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka told Parliament during plenary on Wednesday that the monies had bounced because some beneficiaries had closed their accounts while other accounts were dormant.

The chief government adviser was updating the House on a recent meeting with MPs from the three regions on the payments of war debt claimants and beneficiaries.

The monies are part of the allocation released by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development after the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs received Shs84 billion for the financial years 2021/2022 to 2023/2024 and was paid out to a total of 35,037 claimants.

He also revealed that they would engage chief administrative officers in the three sub-regions to permit claimants who lost cattle to participate in a compensation verification exercise.

Jonathan Ebwalu, MP for Soroti West, raised concern about non-payment of claimants who were awarded by court and have already been verified.

“The Soroti High Court heard and disposed of three court cases where it ordered government to compensate the three different groups," Ebwalu said.

"We have over 40,000 verified claimants, many of whom have not been catered to. How are we going to help them."

All claimants irrespective of whether they went to court or not, AG Kiwanuka said, will fill data cards submitted through district structures to enable the ministry take appropriate action.

Kiwanuka was quick to add that his ministry is currently paying out to other beneficiaries and claimants whose account information is accurate.

The Attorney General said a request for appropriation will be put before Parliament in the same regard, and when availed, will be paid to the intended beneficiaries.

“This government respects court orders and the only thing I do not have is sufficient funds. But as soon as the funds are made available, we shall make the payments,” said Kiwanuka.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa advised the Attorney General to bring the concerns before Cabinet and report back to the House in a week's time.

“We also agreed that in three week's time, the Prime Minister will present a statement on the Floor, on other regions which were not captured in the compensation exercise,” said Tayebwa.

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