BUHWEJU – Buhweju legislators have discovered that Emyooga money was divided amongst the district technocrats instead of the recommended residents in the informal sector by the Presidential directive.
The Deputy Speaker, Hon. Anita Among had directed Members of Parliament on a fact-finding mission to assess the progress of the Emyooga program.
According to Olive Koyenkyenga, the Woman Member of Parliament for Buhweju; each constituency was handed Shs 560m out of the Shs260 billion seed capital that the government committed to provide access to financial inclusion under the Emyooga program through the Microfinance Support Centre [MSC].
A total of 6,488 Emyooga SACCOs have already received seed capital on their bank accounts in the entire country.
Francis Mwijukye, MP Buhweju Constituency was surprised to find that Emyooga money in Buhweju was full of conspiracy and connivance between-group Chairpersons, Community Development Officers [CDOs] who just received money and shared as Executives.
“I am just putting it to you that every CDO registered two ghost groups and have already received the money yet there are those that they blocked so that they can create themselves a chance to benefit from the Emyooga fund,” said Mwijukye.
“When we were starting this program, they said the process is free but when we reached Karungu Sub County, the CDO charged us 100,000 to speed the process for us to receive the Emyooga cash” Kasande Veneranda, the Chairperson Kamakanda Womens Produce Dealers Association lamented.
Another resident, Bwengye Mbagaya from Kyesika Katara parish testified that the CDO, Karungu told him there is a second phase and asked me to pay Shs 60,000 for the passbook; I don’t know whether there are still hopes for me to receive the Emyooga money.
Mwijukye added that some Sub County Community Development Officers [CDOs] connived with their family members and formed ghost associations with intentions of fleecing government money under the program.
“We have civil servants who formed groups and used their positions in the district to access Emyooga money that should have been for the poor yet they are employed and can use their salary to access loans,” said Mwijukye.
Out of 126 Emyooga associations in Buhweju, Mwijukye said that about 40% were ghost associations.
Mwijukye said the program is full of extortions and even the elderly were not spared within the district.
“CDO extorting Shs 100,000 from a 70-year-old woman is not just immoral but it is criminal. We have also established that the Emyooga funds may be very difficult to get back from the people because it came during election time and people thought it was just campaign money” Mwijukye explained.
The LC V Chairman, Deo Atuhaire, added that there is also connivance between some CDOs and Chairperson of some associations and SACCOs that just formed ghost associations and shared the money as Executives.
“How do you present us people who received Emyooga money and you only locate telephone contacts without their names that means that there are some ghost groups who have already gotten the money but in reality, they don’t exist,” says Atuhaire
In defence, Nicholas Bashongoka, one of the accused district Community Development Officers denied the allegations claiming that the district successfully supervised the registration of 625 Emyooga associations with similar skills.
“I never forged reports as the MPs stressed and we don’t have ghost associations except those whose numbers dropped but we have associations which were registered you can even go there and verify,” Bashongoka said.
Afrikano Aharikundira, the Resident District Commissioner [RDC] also charged that the Emyooga program in Buhweju is running well and beneficiaries are visible and people have already started on their projects.
“People seem to be suggesting that for one to belong to a journalists’ association, they should have a professional document which is not the case; Emyooga is passion, we need people to belong to their passions so there is no notion of saying that so and so is not a journalist and should not belong to a journalists’ group” Aharikundira explained.
Hon Mwijukye called on the government to restructure the guidelines which will put supervision, monitoring and auditing of government funds in the program.
He also suggested that police must arrest all district leaders involved in unscrupulous dealings in the Emyooga program.
“We have asked police actually to arrest and investigate all the CDOs who were named in extortion of money from the public,” said Mwijukye.
The district leaders also stressed that if no strict guidelines are put in place for government programs; even the parish model funds that will be manned by Parish Chiefs and CDOs will also fail.
“The parish model funds will be at the parish level and will be headed by the Parish Chiefs and next will be the Assistant CDOs, who are stealing Emyooga money, so what do you expect of the results?” said Atuhaire.
If the Emyooga money is failing, the youth livelihood funds failed, even the parish model development program will also fail, Koyekyenga added.
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