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Lira: How district officials disagreed on sharing Shs 4 million bribe, landed in trouble

By Simon Komakech

This afternoon, Geoffrey Omara, a city physical planner, working with Lira Municipal Council, Lira City was arrested and arraigned at Anti-Corruption Division Court, Kololo for soliciting and receiving a bribe of Shs 4 million.
In 2015, Ms. Rehema Akello acquired land from Lira District on lease that expired after a period of 5 years. However, due to COVID-19 challenges, she was unable to file in her lease extension application on time. 
In June 2020, she submitted an application to the district for a lease extension. Omara, the Lira city planner, and Ogwal Philip, the Lira District Local Government’s Physical planner, both considered this a late submission. The duo demanded Shs 4 million from her, stating the money was needed to help the land board work on her file. She initially refused to pay, but after being persuaded by Omara for six months, she gave the money to him using mobile money on October 29, 2020.
Omara, the one who received the money, never divided it with his partner Ogwal, prompting Ogwal to call Akello, insisting that she delivers his portion. The two government agents’ constant harassment and extortion forced her to report the incident to the State House Anti-Corruption Unit on February 4, 2022.
The State house Anti-corruption Unit in collaboration with the Uganda police conducted investigations that led to the arrest of Omara. His accomplice Ogwal, the District physical planner is still at large. 
Omara has been charged with corruption c/s 2(a) and 26 of the anti-corruption Act, 2009 and remanded to Luzira prison.

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