Police have arrested the accountant of Lira Regional Referral Hospital, Mr Simon Odepe, to help with investigation into the circumstances under which his office caught fire on Monday evening.
The suspect’s office got burnt at about 6:30pm destroying mostly financial records. The destroyed items include among others, furniture, computers and files.
Only the accountant’s office was affected by the mysterious fire which was suppressed by the police fire brigade before it could spread to other offices.
The North Kyoga regional police spokesperson, Mr David Ongom, confirmed the arrest, adding that a general enquiry file number 03/2017 has been opened to help police with investigation.
“This is to establish the circumstances under which the office caught fire,” Mr Ongom told this reporter on Tuesday.
The accountant had reportedly abandoned his office by the time of the incident and he was doing his work from another office.
Police said they want to ascertain why the suspect left his office.
“The accountant has been arrested for further investigation,” Mr Ongom said.
So far “concerned witnesses” have recorded statements at Lira Central Police Station, where the suspect is being held.
The witnesses include Mr Wilfred Okabo, the night watchman; Mr Michael Odur, hospital principal administrator and Mr John Nam, office attendant. Others are police officers who visited and inspected the scene; Detective Assistant Inspector of Police Francis Ojok and Mr Paul Gaali, who is attached to Fire Brigade.
This is the second time in less than three months that Lira Hospital accountant has been arrested. In late October last year, he was arrested for failure to account for more than Shs100 million.
Mr Odepe was arrested then on orders of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) team led by Mr Gerald Karuhanga.
The suspect was apprehended after he failed to convince committee members who were investigating the Auditor General’s report.
The MPs, who were scrutinising the AG report for the financial year 2013/2014 reportedly asked him to account for the more than Shs100 million which had remained unaccounted for.
Mr Odepe reportedly gave unsatisfactory explanations to the legislators which prompted his arrest.