Gulu City neglects LCs, spends their Shs 480mln on court cases

GULU– Gulu City authorities have diverted Shs 480 million meant to pay LCI and LCII chairpersons and instead used the money to pay debts arising out of court cases.

The city currently needs Shs 2 bln to clear court costs accrued from 2011 to date. The city has had to fight over court 50 cases.

The Shs480mln is 30 percent of the local revenues collected by the City council last year and was supposed to be paid to the lower council leaders. Gulu City has 128 and 32 LCI  and LCII chairpersons respectively.

Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Mayor says that they are struggling to pay the court costs, some of the properties of the city council have been attached by court bailiffs due to non-payment of the court costs.

“We have had incidents where court bailiffs confiscate our machines including garbage trucks, and graders because we have not paid the different individuals and entities,” Okwonga noted.

Okwonga says that they are currently engaging the individuals and firms whom the city owes the money to extent the period so that the council is able to raise funds to pay them.

Alex Okoya, the LCII Chairperson of Labourline, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the LCI, and LCIIs of Gulu City condemned the act of the city authorities, saying the law stipulates they be paid their dues.

Okoya warns that if not paid, they are going to mobilise all the taxpayers within the city not to pay taxes, also collect, and return all the stamps to the city authorities.

According to Okoya, they are only waiting for the financial year to end before they can intensify the demand for their dues. He says that they are currently struggling with their family needs given the harsh economic situation being experienced in the country.

However, Okwonga says he has already directed the City town clerk to make payments since the city has received part of its supplementary budget that was approved by parliament.

“We used money meant for their payment to clear some debts so that we could have some breathing space. We have now received money [supplementary budget] from the Ministry of Finance. I have directed the town clerk to effect the payment of the LCI and LCIIs,” Okwonga said.

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