Cooperatives & Communities

Kabarole Emyooga SACCO leaders arrested, forced to refund cash

KBAROLE-Officials in Kabarole district led by the Resident District Commissioner, Festus Bandeeba arrested Sacco leaders over mismanagement of Emyooga money and recovered Shs7.6 million while some Shs 25mln is yet to be recovered.

According to Bandeeba, the move to arrest the culprits came after he received complaints from members of Burahya People with Disabilities [PWDs] and Burahya Produce Dealers Emyooga Saccos about the mismanagement of their funds by the executive members.

“When I got complaints, I alerted police to intervene, and they arrested culprits which has helped us recover Shs 4.9mln meant for Burahya PWDs Emyooga Sacco and Shs 2.7mln of the Shs 27mln meant for Burahya Produce Dealers Emyooga Sacco,” Bandeeba said.

Bandeeba said the executive members of the said Saccos being signatories withdrew the money from the Saccos’ accounts and used it to do their own personal business without the knowledge of the members.

He said as Emyooga money is a revolving fund that is meant to benefit all members of the Sacco and help them get out of poverty, adding that it is not meant to be shared among members.

“As leaders, we are sensitizing our people and doing the enforcement part of the financial discipline as well as prosecuting those embezzling government funds,” he said.

He said members got to realise that their money was missing after they read an audit report of their Saccos, which forced them to report the matter to authorities.

He said this reveals and informs them of the financial indiscipline among Emyooga Saccos and other Saccos.

“We have realized that financial indiscipline among Saccos is a growing problem which we cannot allow to escalate. It’s not only Emyooga Saccos and PDM we are looking into. A case in point, there is a Sacco in Kijura which we are following where members embezzled more than Shs 100mln, we have taken it and they are slowly recovering it,” he said.

Bandeeba said they have asked the Microfinance Support Centre [MSC]to do an audit of these Saccos “so that we can know their progress and ensure those who have embezzled the money refund it.”

The Kabarole district commercial officer, John Kabango said the culprits confessed that indeed they mismanaged the money and refunded it.

The MSC Kabarole Zonal regional manager, Emmanuel Mbogah said together with security, they have embarked on a mission to recover the Emyooga funds.

He called upon those who took Emyooga money in form of loans to pay back and encouraged them to use it effectively for the required purpose.

“Our main focus now is monitoring and ensuring that the seed capital given to these Emyooga Saccos is recovered and helps the beneficiaries,” he said.

The Shs 7.6mln that was recovered was handed over to authorities by the Kabarole district police commander, Francis Kyesimira. It was to be deposited on the Saccos’ accounts.

Emyooga is a Presidential Initiative aimed at wealth and job creation. The programme was launched by President Museveni in August 2019 as part of government’s continuous strategies to transform 68 percent of Ugandan homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production.

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