Santa Okot Rubbishes Col. Otoa Claims Over Embezzling Kony’s Money
Santa Okot the former woman Member of Parliament for Pader district has described as baseless claims by Rtd Col. Tonny Otoa alleging that she embezzled money mobilised for rebel leader Joseph Kony during the Juba peace talks in South Sudan.
Sunday Monitor, quoting Col Otoa reported last week that Kony refused to sign the final Juba peace agreement because Santa Okot failed to deliver money handed over to her to hand over to Kony by the then leader of the LRA delegation at the talks, Martin Ojul.
Otoa alleges that Kony described his negotiation team, which included Santa Okot, as thieves after only $9,000 of the total $100,000 was handed over to him. Otoa, according to Sunday Monitor story, claimed Santa Okot was responsible for handling the money.
Rtd Col Otoa is a former Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) officer who was later incorporated into the National Resistance Army (NRA) now the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF). He represented the Lango Cultural Foundation in the Juba talks between Joseph Kony’s Lords Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda government. The talks took place a decade ago and was mediated by now South SUdan rebel leader Riek Machar.
But Santa Okot has responded by describing Otoa’s claims as baseless and cheap talk.
‘‘You eat Kony’s money and you continue going to meet him how?’’ Santa Okot rhetorically asked in an interview early this week, alluding to the ruthless of the LRA leader to those who cross his path.
‘‘The claim is baseless and cheap talk coming from someone who was outside not in the bush,’’ Mrs Okot added.
The Sunday Monitor story claims Mrs Okot skipped the meeting in which Kony should have received the money.
Okot said the Peace talk in Juba was run by the Juba secretariat manned by the South Sudan Government which hired the international accounting firm KPMG.
According to Mrs. Okot, KPMG controlled all finances and transactions including venues for meetings, fuel and accommodation. She said that no money was given in the hands of the LRA delegation team.
‘’ I read the article. The article is rubbish. Did that Col (Otoa) speak with Kony himself or he is guessing,’’ Okot questioned in a telephone interview from the US where she is currently.
Similarly Mrs. Okot denied that the LRA delegation team was asked by Kony to raise money for facilitating the peace talk.
‘‘If I may ask was it realistic for Kony to ask us to raise $100,000 stealthily?’’
Okot said Col Otao is looking for ‘‘cheap popularity.’’
Who is Santa Okot?
Santa Okot in 50`s is the former member of the LRA peace team in Juba. She was the first woman member of parliament for Pader district serving only one term between 2005 and 2011 after losing her seat to Lucy Luwita.
Who is Rtd Col Tonny Otoa?
Col. Otoa currently lives in Lira but is reported to also have a home in Jinja district. He is a former fighter in the Uganda National liberation Army (UNLA). He is in his 70`s. He was among those who fled to exile when Tito Okello overthrew the government of Milton Obote in 1985. He returned to Uganda later and served in the National Resistance Army (NRA) which in 1995 became the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) after Uganda got a new constitution.