Government has released five billion shillings to Acholi War Debt Claimants Association (AWDCA) as compensation for property lost during the northern Uganda insurgency. The release of the money comes at a time when the leadership of the association is divided over the initial 2.5 billion shillings that government gave them last year.
The money is part of an out of court settlement that government reached with AWDCA as compensation for lost property. The association was formed in July 2005 to seek compensation from government for the property and livestock lost during the war. They are demanding 1.4 trillion shillings as compensation from government.
Navinson Kidega, the Gulu Residence District Commissioner, says the money was released last week and handed over to the Ministry of Justice to effect payment to Acholi War Debt Claimants Association. He however expressed concern that the money might end up being embezzled by the executive members of the association like in the past.
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The release of the money comes at a time when the leadership of Acholi War Debt Claimants Association is embroiled in a leadership wrangle. The executive of the association is also accused of corruption.
The members of the association last year accused the executive led by Engineer Noah Opwonya of mismanaging the exercise and failing to account for the initial 2.5 billion shillings that government gave to the association.
Robert Adyera, another claimant to the leadership of the association, yesterday called a press conference in Gulu on learning that the money had been released and announced that it will only cater for 5800 beneficiaries.
According to Adyera only the people who sued government will benefit from the compensation.
He alleges that some unnamed politicians from northern Uganda have petitioned the Ministry of Justice demanding that the money be handed over to the Office of the Prime Minister so that it can be used for reconstruction efforts in the entire north.
He argued that doing so would be violating the court ruling which ordered government to compensate victims who filed the suit.
Acholi war debt claimants association was formed in July 2005 to seek compensation from government on behalf of the people whose property was looted by the then National Resistance Army rebel insurgency. The association is seeking 1.4 trillion shillings from government as compensation for lost property.