By David Okema
Omoro – Simon Loum, 45, a father of six children and a resident of Peya village in Onyona parish in Ongako sub-county in Omoro district is stranded with his children.
Mr Loum accuses Gulu Municipality Member of Parliament Lyandro Komakech for refusing to pay his money, totaling to shillings 700,000, accruing from the sale of baked bricks early this year.
Loum, whose five children are of school-going ages, said he is now stuck home with the children after they have been chased from school for fees.
The aggrieved parent – a brick maker is also about to lose his household properties to Village Loan and Saving Group and Post Bank Uganda for loans he borrowed.
“I am stranded. I have called him but he doesn’t pick my phone. I have sought assistance from all the local leaders including clan leaders and sub-county chairman and all my effort is not attended to,” without hope parent said.
“I borrowed loan of shilling 200, 000 from village saving group and now they want to collect all my property to repay the loan. I also borrowed a loan from Post Bank Uganda but left with 20,000 to complete paying back, so please he should help me,” he added, with a begging voice.
Loum claimed that on January 27, 2018 he sold 8 trips (9,600 pieces) of burnt brick at a rate of shillings130 amounting to shillings 1,248,000 but after bargain, the legislator agreed to pay him shillings 1,150,000.
On the transaction day, Loum said the MP paid him shillings 250, 000 only out of shillings 1, 150,000 with promised that he will clear the rest of the balance the next day.
The following day, according to Loum, the MP was not around but all the bricks were ferried away to Lyandro’s construction side without payment.
He continued that later in February when his five pupils were in need of school fees to report to school for term one, he reminded the legislator to completely pay his money but Lyandro instead sent shillings 100,000 through Mobile Money and again after tirelessly pressuring him, Lyandro again, on October 22, sent another shillings 100,000 using Mobile Money.
In total, he said the legislator, from between January to date has paid him shillings 450,000 only and the remaining balance of shilling 700,000 is what he’s begging for.
Loum on Wednesday, 31 October, said he received shillings 100,000 on his Mobile Money account from an anonymous sender, arguing he is afraid to pick the money because it might be wired to his mobile money account by someone by mistake.
In an attempt to put the MP responsible, Loum sought assistance from area local leaders, [LCI and LCIII] to voice up his concern to Lyandro to ensure the amount is cleared at once, to enable him also pay his five children at school.
In a letter addressed to Lyandro Komakech by Ongako sub-county chairman, William Ocitti dated 23, Octber 2018; it demands that the legislator pay Loum in full so that he is able to send his five children back to school after they were chased from attending classes for defaulting school fees.
“As the matter stands, Mr Loum Simon is requesting for the whole payment reason being that his five children have been chased away from school because of school fees; also he picked up a loan from Post Bank Uganda and the repayment schedules is ongoing. He feels that the MP should consider and pay him the balance,” the LCIII letter reads in part.
“This office joins Mr Loum Simon to request the MP to really consider and pay the balance. As you are aware, issue to do with politicians, the community handles it the way they feel best to them. I would really advice let the money be paid once such that we avoid those kind of issues,” Ocitti advised Lyandro in the same letter.
When contacted Ocitti to verify his letter to the MP, he confirmed sending the letter and said he got calls couple of days ago from one who work in the office of Lyandro in Gulu town stating that the MP had paid another installment of shillings 200,000 and promised to clear the remaining balance in few days.
When contacted Lyandro, the legislator’s phone rang repeatedly as no one pick up the calls. And after messaging him, the MP instead forwarded the message to his brother Stephen Nyeko who lives in Gulu town to call back our reporter to respond to the allegation.
According to Nyeko, his brother (Lyandro) was busy and couldn’t pick calls as he was traveling back from Bududa.
Nyeko said Lyandro bought 1,400 pieces of burnt bricks a rate of shillings 100 each from one only identified as Ojok Kinyera a resident of Onyona in June this year and has paid most of the money remaining shillings 180, 000 only. He also claimed that the last payment was made on 30, October, 2018 to Ojok Kinyera.
Nyeko stated that his brother has been on and off in the country as he was regularly traveling to United States of America where he is advancing in a University studies and was unable to connect to the men who sold him the bricks.
He also pointed that the MP recently had challenges of money due to delays of payment of MPs’ salaries by Public Service.
Asked whether Nyeko knows the deal between the MP and Loum, he said in affirmative but said that Lynadro has paid Ojok shillings 2, 400,000 for bricks and is only remaining with a balance of shillings 180, 000 that shall be settled within this week, adding that Loum should learn to be patience.
In attempt to investigate the matter further to establish whether Loum and Ojok Kinyera were in a joint venture in selling brick, our reporter contacted Ojok Kinyera only to find that he is also the victim of related incident.
Ojok Kinyera said his transaction with the legislator is separate from that between Loum and Lyandro. He clarified his business is separate though they are from the same area.
Ojok noted that the MP paid most of his money with the recent payment on 29 October, 2018 for the 14,000 pieces of burnt bricks, adding that the remaining a balance of shillings 180, 000 was to be cleared by Wednesday 31st.
But Loum again rectified that Ojok sold his bricks separate and that he has learnt Ojok who is related to the MP have most of his money paid. So, in actual total the MP owes both Loum and Ojok Sh850, 000.
A Ugandan MP who earns between shillings 20m-shillings 25m gross pay on a monthly basis to fail to pay shillings 700, 000 only to a jobless youth in Uganda is not a story at all.
In a related incident, recently, former Gulu Municipality MP, Christopher Acire was mowed in the hand by an angry causal worker after the former lawmaker paid shillings 60,000 instead of shillings 80,000 as they earlier agreed for mowing the compound at his home located in Laliya trading centre in Bungatira sub-county, few kilometers north of Gulu town.
The casual worker however, for attempting to murder was sentenced to three years on a plea of guilt by Gulu High Court.