Barely three weeks after the government, through the Ministry of the Interior, donated four truckloads of relief items to residents in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District of the Northern Region, a chunk of the items has gone missing.
The items were to be distributed to residents who were affected during an operation to arrest Johnson Kombian, a hardened criminal who was hiding in the area.
Two assembly members, Simon Nyunmon and Daniel Kolan, have been arrested in connection with the missing items.
Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, the Minister of Interior, with support from Northern Regional Minister Moses Bukari Mabengba, handed over the items to the Bunkpurugu-Yunyoo District National Disaster Management (NADMO) during a colorful ceremony.
The items were therefore kept in the palace of Naa David Kansuk, Nakpanduri chief, instead of NADMO offices for onward delivery to the beneficiaries.
A 12-member committee was subsequently empanelled to facilitate the distribution to the disaster victims on the orders of the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area, Philip Laari.
In the process of distribution, it was discovered that a chunk of the relief materials had gone missing, with quantities taken into private homes.
DAILY GUIDE investigations revealed that nine out of the 12 committee members were indicted for their alleged involvement in the sudden disappearance of the items.
This resulted in the arrest and detention of two suspects who are believed to have masterminded the alleged stealing.
Though police would not disclose the identities of the two suspects, DAILY GUIDE can confirm they are Simon Nyunmon and Daniel Kolan, assembly members in the area.
The stolen items included 83 bags of rice, 50 bags of beans, 105 bags of maize, 50 mats, 100 plastic plates, 80 packets of roofing sheets and over 100 blankets.
Other missing items were 100 plastic cups, unspecified quantities of lanterns, 4 bales of used clothing and 100 plastic plates, according to deep-throat sources.
DAILY GUIDE sources revealed that most of the items were carted away by party functionaries of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of the area with support from the District NADMO boss, Wuni Sugri.
His deputy, who was alleged to be neck-deep in the scandal, was reported to have absconded and his whereabouts are presently not known.
The District Police Commander, who is also a member of the distribution committee, ASP Zah Michael, when contacted, confirmed the incident to DAILY GUIDE.
He however rebutted claims that the two suspects were still under detention, indicating that they had been granted police enquiry bail to assist in investigations.
According to him, the shortfall in the list of the consignment was detected while distributing them to beneficiaries in the affected communities.
He told DAILY GUIDE that he directed that an inventory be conducted to retrieve the stolen items, disclosing that checks led them to some private homes where a few of them were retrieved.
ASP Zah said the issue was under investigations and culprits would soon be processed for court.
All attempts to talk to the DCE, Philip Laari, proved futile as he failed to respond to phone calls.
At the time of going to the press, he was also yet to respond to two text messages sent to his cell phone but it was gathered that he had vowed to avoid the press on the matter in view of the alleged involvement of his party people.
Some of the victims, in a telephone interview with DAILY GUIDE, complained that they had not been given their share of the relief items, accusing authorities of giving it to persons who did not need them.
It would be recalled that about 477 households were affected during security operation aimed at arresting Johnson Kombian, a hardened criminal who was hiding in the area.
Source: Stephen Zoure, Tamale
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