Acholi War Claimants Appeal Ruling in Battle for Compensation

2423 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
On 6th February, 2015, Court in Gulu ordered the executive to hold a fresh verification exercise and account for the already disbursed funds in order to avoid double payment. It also directed that whatever amount of compensation agreed upon, should be paid to claimants directly through their bank accounts.

The Acholi War Debt Claimants Executive intends to appeal against a ruling in which Gulu High Court Resident Judge John Eudes Keitirima ordered for fresh verification of beneficiaries and a change in payment systems.

The claimant's dragged government to court challenging the price tag placed upon each cattle under their compensation deal with government and were demanding that court sets the reward at shs 1.2 per cattle.  In an earlier out of court settlement, the group had agreed a price tag of shs 650, 000 per cattle, but later stated that the money was too low considering the high market price of the animals.

The war claimants say they lost property and livestock valued in billions of shillings stolen by officers of the National Resistance Army between 1986 and 1989. With a suggested increment in value, the compensation bill would shoot to shs 100 billion from an initial settlement of shs 35billion that the group was demanding.

Todate, government has released shs 7.1 billion to cover the cost of compensation. However, it has been reported that the funds were swindled by a few individuals within the group, while the purported victims are given less than shs 200,000 as their share.

As a result of the corruption allegations many Acholi leaders opted to stop the compensation exercise forcing the leadership of the association to run to court.

But on 6th February, 2015, Court in Gulu ordered the executive to hold a fresh verification exercise and account for the already disbursed funds in order to avoid double payment. It also directed that whatever amount of compensation agreed upon, should be paid to claimants directly through their bank accounts.

However, George Pius Opio, the Publicity Secretary Acholi War Debt Claimants Association says the ruling failed to determine and confirm the value of livestock, interest and general damages involved. He adds that the Court equally refused to confirm the verification report and the number of claimants.

Opio adds that they cannot surrender to government the authority to send payments directly to the beneficiaries' bank accounts on ground that many of their members may not have the capacity to consistently follow up the matter with government.

//Cue in: "who is to account……….
Cue out:…………..reached the claimants"//
 
The association is further appealing against the involvement of both local Government leaders and political leaders in the association business and also emphasized that the association executive already accounted for monies received to the Government.

Justice Minister, Kahinda Otafiire recently ordered for an investigation and forensic audit into Acholi War Debt Claimants following numerous complaints from Acholi leaders and war claimants.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.