Uganda orders reshuffle of refugee department

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FILE PHOTO: South Sudanese refugees displaced by fighting, receive food rations in Imvepi settlement in Arua district, northern Uganda, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/James Akena/File photo
FILE PHOTO: South Sudanese refugees displaced by fighting, receive food rations in Imvepi settlement in Arua district, northern Uganda, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/James Akena/File photo

Uganda’s Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hilary Onek has ordered a reshuffle in the refugee department following the interdiction of Commissioner of Refugees, Mr Apollo Kazungu and four other official yesterday, local online website, the Daily Monitor reports.

“Let the whole system be changed and fill up the gaps that are vacant. There are senior officials here and yet there are those people who joined with attachment to an individual holding wrong offices, let this be settled as fast as possible,” Mr. Onek said.

The interdiction follows reports of mismanagement and corruption in the refugee department.

The officials allegedly created fake names in refugee settlements so they could swindle money. Millions of dollars in aid are believed to have been lost as a result.

They were also accused of stealing relief items meant for the refugees, appropriating government land meant for refugees, trafficking young girls and married women, and interfering with the election of community leaders.

Uganda hosts more than 1 million people who fled war in neighboring South Sudan and some 400,000 more from Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The country has given refugees land and opportunity to work, in stark contrast to many richer nations.

Mr. Gerald Menya on Wednesday took over from Kazungu as the new commissioner of the Department of Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, with the government pledging to fight corruption in the department.

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