Lira district chief administrative officer (CAO) Ben Paul Otim Ogwete has been remanded by the Anti-Corruption court for alleged corruption and abuse of office.
Ogwete appeared on Tuesday before magistrate, Moses Nabende on allegations that between June 2020 and July 2021, he abused his authority by engaging in an arbitrary act that was prejudicial to the interests of his employer.
Specifically, Otim is accused of failing to communicate the contents of letters from the permanent secretary of the ministry of Local Government to the District Land Board and other relevant authorities.
These letters directed a halt to all land transactions within the jurisdiction of Lira city until the government determines the proper allocation of such land and properties between the city and the district. The court heard that Otim committed these offenses on three occasions, including June 8, 2020, and July 22, 2020, when the permanent secretary sent him three separate letters instructing him to suspend the land transactions, which he allegedly ignored.
Otim pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him. State attorney David Mugamba informed court that the inquiries in the case have been completed and requested a hearing date. Otim's defense lawyers led by Emmanuel Wamimbi and Joram Sebuliba, attempted to secure bail for their client. They argued that Otim was arrested the previous day and was suffering from a heart attack.
However, Nabende, who was recently promoted to his current position by the Judicial Service Commission, directed the defense team to submit their bail application on May 18. Consequently, Otim has been remanded to Luzira prison until the scheduled bail hearing date. Otim's arrest was carried out by detectives from the State House Anti-Corruption unit, and he spent a night in police custody before appearing in court.