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Kabarole district leaders cite corruption in disbursement of PDM funds

KABAROLE, October 3, 2023 – Leaders in Kabarole district in western Uganda have accused LCII chairpersons, SACCO chairpersons, and parish chiefs of corruption, saying they demand kickbacks from the beneficiaries of the Parish Development Model [PDM].

John Kasweta Ruvuuma, a councilor representing Hakibaale Sub-county said about 90 percent of the PDM groups in his sub-county that received the money had to share it with parish chiefs who were recruited by the government to lead the implementation of the programme meant to fight household poverty.

“This is really very unfortunate because you can imagine someone who applied for Shs 1 million ending up with Shs 700,000 because he/she has to give something to the parish chief and sometimes to their SACCO chairperson,” Ruvuuma said.

He revealed this on Wednesday during the district council meeting that was held at the district headquarters in Kitumba.

Herbert Murungi, a councilor representing Kibasi town council claimed that many of the PDM beneficiaries were forced to pay between Shs 200,000 and Shs 300,000 in order to be considered.

“I wonder why innocent citizens pay the money, something which is contrary to the seven pillars of the PDM,” he said. The beneficiaries receive the money under pillar three of the programme, which is the Financial Inclusion Pillar.

Murungi added: “If someone doesn’t have the required money to give in as kickback, he has to first borrow in order to be in position to acquire the PDM funds.”

However, Maureen Komuhimbo who is also a leader noted that the PDM beneficiaries give kickbacks to be considered but are also forced to give a bribe so that they are worked on fast during account opening in banks.

“People are suffering a lot during the bank account opening. For the last one or two months, individuals from different parishes in Kabarole and Fort Portal City have been seen queuing at the banks with their documents so as to open accounts,” she said.

The Kabarole district LCV chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga however attributed the vice to beneficiaries who are impatient and want to receive very fast.

On his part, the Kabarole Resident District Commissioner [RDC], Festus Bandeeba told participanata at the meeting that the district security was following up the matter closely and would have the culprits frustrating the PDM arrested.

He however appealed to all PDM beneficiaries to report whoever asks for bribes.

Launched in February 2022, the PDM is meant to benefit 39 percent of the active poor Ugandans and help them get out of poverty by improving their household incomes through commercial production, with enterprises such as dairy farming, fish farming, coffee, piggery, coffee, bananas, grains, cereals, and fish farming being considered.

The PDM is an approach to organising and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation at the parish level as the lowest economic unit for planning, budgeting, reporting and delivery of interventions by both the state and non-state actors.

Under the programme, each parish in Uganda is allocated Shs 100 million every financial year, for five years. Government started disbursing the money to 10,594 parishes in the financial year 2022/2023, spending over a trillion shillings.

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