UGANDA, Lira | Real Muloodi News | The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of Lira District, Ben Ogwette Otim, has been charged and remanded by the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala over allegations of abuse of office and corruption.
During his appearance before Chief Magistrate Moses Nabende, Otim, aged 59, was formally read the charges. He pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him by the state.
The prosecution, led by David Mugamba, informed the court that investigations in the case had been completed and requested a hearing date.
Otim’s defence team, headed by Emmanuel Wamimbi, applied for bail, citing Otim’s arrest on May 15 and his health condition, as he suffers from a heart attack.
However, the Chief Magistrate was not persuaded by this argument and remanded Otim until May 18 for a hearing on the bail application.
The prosecution alleges that between June 2020 and July 22, 2021, while serving as the CAO of Lira District, Otim abused the authority of his office by committing arbitrary acts that were detrimental to the interests of his employer.
Specifically, he is accused of failing to communicate the contents of letters from the Local Government permanent secretary to the District Land Board and other relevant authorities.
These letters had instructed the suspension of all district land board transactions concerning land within the jurisdiction of Lira City until the government determined the allocation of land and other properties between the city and district.
The creation of Lira City by the Lira District Local Government led to a conflict over the distribution of properties, including land, between the two jurisdictions.
Otim allegedly received guidance on how to handle the issue but deliberately withheld the information from the district land board.
As a result, public land in Lira continued to be fraudulently disposed of by district officials in collusion with the District Land Board. This land includes government-owned developments such as schools, railways, hospitals, and green spaces, which may be at risk due to the misconduct of the chief administrative officer.
In May 2019, the Cabinet approved the establishment of 15 cities, including Lira City. The Ministry of Local Government has since guided the process of transitioning to these cities.
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