Residents angry as police fails to name owner of expired drugs

Ongodia and other officials inspect the seized drugs on Friday.

Expired drugs worth over sh1.5m have been confiscated by the Police in Amuria district. The drugs were impounded in Wera Cattle Market in Wera sub-county during a joint operation by the district officials and Teso Anti-Corruption Coalition last week.

James Asubu, the officer in charge of criminal investigations, said the expired drugs were being sold in the market. However,Asubu said the suspect overpowered the two Police officers and escaped.

Although the owner of the drugs is well-known to many people, the Police withheld his name, saying revealing his identity would jeopardize their investigations. Asubu said the suspect would be charged with illegal possession of government property.

 “More charges will be preferred against him if it is confirmed that he is not qualified and licensed,” he said.

The district drugs inspector, John Francis Otim Obokor, identified the drugs as mostly syrups and antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Ampiclox and Ampicillin. Obokor said some of the drugs expired in 2016.

“The other drugs were in poor condition because they were being kept in drums of water and jerrycans,” he said.

Obokor said the drugs could have been stolen from a store bya health worker in a government health facility and sold to the suspect. The district health officer, Dr Nick Okwii, said any health worker found to have sold government drugs would be brought to book.

The deputy speaker, Lawrence Opolot Ekolu, said illegal drug dealers were operating in many markets in the district.

“The leaders keep advising the locals to desist from buying drugs from the market but the people argue that these drugs are cheaper than those in clinics,” he said.

Ronald Kedi Ongodia, the deputy resident district commissioner,warned the locals against buying drugs from open markets and seeking treatment from untrained drug dealers. Ongodia called on the health ministry to come into support the district in identifying fake drug dealers.

He also encouraged the local community to make use of the available health facilities other than going to illegal drug dealers.

“People should ask for a licence before buying drugs from an open market drug dealer. We shall arrest all those selling bad and government drugs illegally,” Ongodia warned.

 Some of the drugs were burnt, while the rest were kept as exhibits.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.