BY AKELLO SHARON
Security agencies in Otuke district have arrested four people who were masquerading as officials from State House and extorting money from the community in the name of registering them to benefit from State House SACCO.
Those arrested and being detained at Otuke Central Police Station are the group leader Ms Monica Adongo, a resident of Ober Kampala Cell, Ober Ward, Lira City East Division, the group coordinator for Otuke district Mr Richard Ojok of Adwari sub-county, Mr Geoffrey Apelo a resident of Awinyoru village, Amuria parish, Aloi sub-county, Alebtong district and Ms Robinah Akello also a resident same area.
According to Otuke Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Mr Christopher Omara who coordinated their arrest, the suspects have been posing as officials from State House and collecting Shs 10,000 from the communities claiming that its registration fees for SACCOs
“On Friday last week a group of people extended an invitation to me inviting me for a function on Monday March 1 but from the letter there was some writing about State House and the content of the letter so I became suspicious when I tried to scrutinize the letter”, the RDC told our reporter on Wednesday afternoon.
“So I alerted DPC and DISO that I want the people investigated and apprehended because I just detected that the letter was not from State House since letters from State House I am very conversant with it”, Mr Omara added.
He said the letter was signed by a lady called Ms Monica Adongo who claims to be SACCO northern coordinator but the name of the SACCO was not there.
“I thought inviting me for a function; if you come to work in the district you must have interacted with may be the CAO, the CDO, the chairman LCV or the RDC which they did not. So when we sent the police on the ground, we indeed apprehended her and three others”, the RDC said.
The RDC who is the head of the district security committee said he interacted with one claiming to be the chairperson and realized that it looks like they were duped into what they did not understand well
“He named someone in Mapera house in Kampala whom I also interacted with him and he refuted that he has never ordered anybody to collect any money”, he said.
The RDC said he has realized that the fraudsters were operating in 9 districts of Dokolo, Otuke, Apac, Kwania, Kole, Oyam, Moroto, Kotido and Gulu where they are collecting Shs 10,000 from each member of the unsuspecting communities.
He said that most of the suspects claim that they were recruited in January and February this year to coordinate the recruitment of other members.
He said the suspects have failed to explain why they were collecting the Shs 10,000 and where they were taking it because even the one they claim to be their leader from Kampala is trying to disassociate himself from the State House things, from Shs 10,000 but confirmed that they were only registering people to form SACCOs groups.
“We need to get very serious; there are a lot of problem people who are extorting money from the wanainchi and we need to protect our people. Local leaders are also supposed to be very vigilant because people have become desperate and they are exploiting the ignorance the community”, the RDC stressed.
He said they need to engage the community in sensitization to alert them that those kinds of people exist because they are disguising as people from the President’s office and State House.
The North Kyoga regional police spokesman Mr James Ekaju said the suspects will be arraign in court any time to be charged with impersonation and frauds.