By Christopher Nyeko
Gulu: The Owoo sub-county authorities in Gulu district are reportedly struggling to recover a chia crashing machine that was allegedly sold off by the Owoo sub-county office attendant, Mr. Komakech Denis, widely known as Kayola.
The machine for crushing chia seeds was donated to Owoo sub-county lower local government by UN-women in the financial year 2019/2020 to women groups in Owoo sub-county in a bid to promote chia seed growing among the communities to enhance their social-economic wellbeing and livelihood.
However, this machine lasted only for a period of 18 months before it was fraudulently sold off.
According to Rubangakene Stephen, the area councilor III for Pabwoo Parish, the machine was taken to Mr. Komakech’s home since the sub-county has no proper store for keeping his machine.
However, to their surprise, some parts of the machine were reportedly starting to get lost. By June 2023, the matter was brought before the sub-county executive committee, and it was established that the machine was sold off in Amuru district for 320,000 shillings.
Okumu Richard, the Owoo sub-county LCIII chairperson, says the sub-county authorities reported the loss of the machine to Bungatira Police, prompting the arrest of the key suspects in July 2023. Three suspects, including Komakech Denis and Odera Bosco, were arrested, but they were released on police bond.
The machine, according to the local leaders, was rotating among the chia seed growers in Owoo sub-county upon requisition, and after its use, a farmer would return the machine to the home of Mr. Komakech.
Opiyo Christopher Ateker, the Gulu District LCV Chairperson, confirmed the loss of this machine, saying the District Executive Committee (DEC) has already directed the office of the Deputy CAO Gulu district local government and Secretary for Production Gulu district to liaise with the Owoo sub-county authority to recover the chia machine from the perpetrators.
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