How URA ended the life of a 70-year-old PDM beneficiary in Arua

How URA ended the life of a 70-year-old PDM beneficiary in Arua

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi 

ARUA. A closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showing how a 70-year-old woman died in a fatal accident involving two vehicles belonging to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has emerged.

Margaret Ondiria, a resident of Ayuu village, Offaka sub-county in Madi Okollo died on spot during the accident which occurred at about 4:50pm along Arua-Nebbi Road next to Rhema hospital on Tuesday.

Two other people aboard the same motorcycle number UFP 940T sustained serious fractures and are now receiving treatment at Arua regional referral hospital.

The two were identified as Patrick Bulea and Beatrice Candiru, the only biological children of the deceased.

Silivio Wama, the deceased’s husband speaking to the media on Wednesday. Photo by Andrew Cohen Amvesi

Silivio Wama, the husband of the deceased said the children had accompanied their mother to receive her Parish Development Model (PDM) money from the bank in Arua and they were on their way back home at the time of the incident.

According to Alex Oyer, the Local Council One (LCI) chairperson of Awindiri Cell, Arua Central Division in Arua City, the URA officers were responsible for the accident because their car stopped abruptly to impound a certain unregistered motorcycle.

He said later on, it emerged that the owner of the motorcycle they were after had started processing his number plate and was in possession of URA documents in that effect.

“The accident occurred just 20 metres from my office. When anger started flaring among residents, I calmed them down and we asked the URA officials to take the body and the two other people to the hospital,” Oyer explained in a meeting summoned by Ham Muzamil Ezama, the Arua Deputy RCC in charge of the Central Division on Wednesday.

Benard Atiku, the former Ayivu Division MP also another eyewitness narrated how URA enforcement officers led to the death of the innocent woman and the injury of her children.

Atiku said the vehicles were being driven at a break-neck speed from the town center towards the accident scene as if there was an emergency.

“After advising them (URA officers) to move with the body and the victims, I followed them until we reached the hospital and indeed the hospital responded very first. They transferred the two victims who were critically injured for attention, but of course, as you all know, there was no immediate medicine given because I was told the hospital was expecting medicine from National Medical Stores (NMS),” Atiku narrated.

“So, I had to buy the medicine which was required for first aid so that the pain killers can be administered because the other lady broke the thigh bone which was actually completely crushed while the rider sustained a broken leg on the left-hand side,” Atiku added.

He said while in the hospital, people gathered out of curiosity to find out what had happened.

“But this being a repeated act of recklessness, I think some commotion started and the soldiers attached to URA started firing bullets indiscriminately; not in the air, some of the bullets I saw were on that wall of the hospital, even if you went there, you would see the marks. So, I was imagining if such a bullet escaped and went across to Stanbic Bank or on the road, what else would have happened,” Atiku wondered.

The CCTV footage obtained from the neighboring Rhema hospital also indicated how the two URA enforcement cars approached the scene leading to the fatal accident.

In the footage, the rider was attempting to overtake one of the cars as it was parking on the side of the road only for the other white Pick-Up with registration number UBA 2010 to stop abruptly on the way thus the crash from behind.

During the meeting, Col. Cassette Wamundu, the Head of Intelligence at URA said they have committed themselves as URA that when such incidents happen, they will not try in any way to be defensive.

“The reason why I came was that I should help URA to establish facts so that we find a way of really doing away with these kinds of incidents. We will not interfere with police investigations into this matter in any way as URA and that is our position,” Wamundu said.

In respect to the burial arrangement, he urged the office of the RCC to come up with a small select committee which consists of the deceased’s family members and give them the feedback for support.

Among the resolutions, Ezama ordered the police to arrest the two URA drivers to record their statements and also institute investigations into the reckless shootings at the hospital.

By press time, the family of the deceased was in another meeting with URA officials and local leaders in preparation for the burial.

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