Shs.20m was paid to wrong person – Lira town clerk clarifies


Made clarifications, Lira Town Clerk Assy . T Abirebe. File photo.

Lira – On Monday morning, ten people, among them six known NRM party supporters in Lango sub-region were arrested after they had planned a demo against Lira municipal officials.

Okwir Patrick aka Kampala, Solomon Loro, Okot Jonal and others’ planned demo in which they wanted to lock offices of Lira municipality town clerk, Assy Abirebe and Mayor Mike Ogwang Olwa  Veve were thwarted by anti riot police.

This was under the command of Lira DPC, Joel Tubanone who, in his address to local media said police could not allow the protesters to disrupt municipal council business.

DPC Tubanone also said the money erroneously paid to UTC Lira staff was being handled administratively, adding there was nothing to demonstrate for.

The NRM supporters – were protesting what they called rampant corruption in the municipality a result of which saw 20 million shilling being deposited to a ‘stranger’ – a one Jimmy Otim.

Jimmy Otim works as estate manager of Uganda Technical College [UTC] Lira and he has no business or attachment with Lira municipality whatsoever.

Mr Otim in his own narrative to the local media in Lango said around 8th of October 2018, he went to Stanbic bank branch in Lira to withdraw about 32,000 shillings and the only amount he was sure was on his bank account.

According to Otim, he realized the figures on his account were in multiple of numbers – 20,035,000 million shillings.

“I was confused when I saw the amount on my account, for a moment I thought it was my arrears for my March 2018 salary which I missed,” Otim further narrates.

But even if it were to be his March 2018 salary arrears, realistically, it wouldn’t be that much on his account.

Otim then withdrew shillings 700,000 and the ATM did not issue him a receipt so he could not ‘tell how much was left on his bank account’.

After withdrawing part of what was not his, Otim, immediately received a call from someone at LMC asking him about the money he had withdrawn and he was eventually ‘summoned’.

While there [to those who summoned him], he was told that the money does not belong to him and that a balance of about shillings 19m was to be inactive on his account. He was asked to immediately withdraw the money and hand over to the sender.

To the held protesters, this was a syndicated fraud.

Also read: Six NRM cadres in detention over shs.20m demo

However, according to Lira Municipality town clerk, Mr Assy Abirebe, the decision to post the money on Otim’s account was in error.

Mr Abirebe, in a phone interview with this news website on Monday evening, says first of all, the money was to be paid to one Otim Jimmy who’s the assistant engineer, Lira Municipality.

“Ideally if you want to channel the money you don’t send to someone you don’t know. It was an error – the person to receive the money was also Otim Jimmy of Lira Municipality,” Abirebe clarifies.

Even before Otim had got the money on his account, the town clerk contends that he had written to Stanbic bank Lira branch, requesting them to block the account and reverse the said amount.

“He [Otim] was very cooperative when we called him. He told us how much he had withdrawn [shs.700, 000] and said he had already used 300,000 shillings. He handed over the balance to us,” town clerk added.

In his first letter dated 11, October 2018 to Stanbic bank Lira branch manager and received that day, Abirebe, wrote: “This is to notify you that Lira Municipal Council transferred Shs. 20, 035, 000 erroneously to the above person. The payment was meant to pay Otim Jimmy who is our engineering staff.

The purpose of this letter is to request you not to allow withdrawal of this money until the matter is sorted out.”

Again, in a letter dated 17, October, 2018, the town clerk’s letter to Stanbic bank Lira branch manager titled: reversal of funds shs.20, 035, 000, reads: “Refer to my letter to you on ref CR/106/4 dated 12, October, 2018 on erroneous deposit of shs. [refer to above figures] to Otim Jimmy’s Account No. 9030002984228 Stanbic bank Lira branch.

Abirebe’s letter to Stanbic bank Lira branch. TND News Uganda copy.

As Mr Otim Jimmy had agreed to deposit the money which he had withdrawn by 15 October, 2018, I am therefore requesting you to reverse the money back to Bank of Uganda.”

On the 18, October, 2018, Lawoko Simon Peter, the Stanbic bank Lira branch manager in his response letter captioned: “Reversal of funds erroneously sent to Otim Jimmy 9030002984228” to town clerk reads: “We are in receipt of your instruction dated 11, October 2018 requesting us to stop debit on the above account due to an erroneous transaction of shs [refer to the above figures] sent to it and your request therefore for the bank to reverse this transaction back to the sender.

“We would like to advise that Lira Municipal Council writes to your payer Bank BOU, so that BOU sends a funds recall letter to Stanbic Bank for funds to be returned to their BOU Account.

“Kindly note that the above account is also currently insufficiently funded but a lien will be loaded as soon as the letter from BOU is received.

“Looking forward to your usual cooperation and partnership,” Lawoko’s full letter to town clerk.

Stanbic bank reply to Abirebe’s letter. TND News Uganda copy.

 


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