Onek probes refugee scandal for fear of aid cut

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Minister of relief and disaster preparedness, Hillary Onek

Hillary Onek, Minister of relief and disaster preparedness, says he is concerned that the refugee scandal might lead to the cut-off of funds from Uganda’s partners.

“Development partners appreciate the work we are doing and they are willing to continue working with Uganda,” Onek told press in Kampala on Thursday morning.

He said with more refugees coming in from the neighbouring Congo, Uganda shall need more support.

“In total, the support we get from international community is only 30%. Government uses its social services to fill the gaps.”

Speaking on the misappropriation of refugee funds by officials from the Office of the Prime Minister [OPM], Onek said allegations of abuse of funds are being taken serious by the government.

“Our development partners are satisfied with the steps we are taking towards addressing these allegations and because of this, they have promised to continue giving us aid.”

The minister also emphasised that the investigation time line for the misappropriated refugee funds will be one month.

“We have initiated investigations into corruption allegations in OPM. No stone will be left unturned.”

He said the sudden increase in the numbers of refugees from 400,000 to over 1.4 million created loopholes in the refugees response activities.

He said on average, over 3,000 people enter the country from the DRC every day. The task of providing hope for the refugee communities remains a huge challenge in the country

“We have zero tolerance on corruption and abuse of public funds and whoever will be found to be involved will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

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