Police investigates Uganda Cooperative Alliance Boss over forgery, abuse of office

Kampala, Uganda:  The Uganda Cooperative Alliance’s (UCA) general secretary, Ivan Asiimwe, has been placed under investigation for alleged abuse of office including forgery and uttering of false documents.

Asiimwe, who is the topmost official in the umbrella body of cooperative is alleged to have used forged board resolutions to access the organization’s land titles deposited with Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

“Investigations and Compliance Department at Uganda National Roads Authority is investigating a case of suspected forgery of Board minutes and powers of attorney,” police criminal investigations department said in a July 23 letter addressed to UCA board.

The forged documents, police say, were submitted in support of a request to UNRA to release residue certificates of title for the Uganda Cooperative Alliance Limited to Asiimwe.

He is expected to report for interrogation at the Investigations and Compliance Department at UNRA Headquarters in Nakawa tomorrow.

The Criminal investigations officer attached to UNRA, Beata Chelimo, confirmed to theCooperator, that her office has instituted an investigation against Asiimwe.

 “Yes, it is true we received a complaint and I am investigating the allegations. I wrote to the Board Chair to ask Asiimwe to report here on Friday so we can listen to what he has to say about the allegations [levelled against him],” said Chelimo.

She, however, declined to disclose who had asked her office to investigate the matter.

UCA Board chair Johnas Tweyambe confirmed receipt of the summons for Asiimwe.

“I handed over the letter to our General Secretary and he is preparing documents needed for him to respond to the charges. He has to be present as required,” Tweyambe said.

The investigations follow a number of complaints from employees of the Alliance to the Board and the Ministry of Cooperatives.

In their petition to the Board, the staff point that Asiimwe has abused his office by forging board minutes and arbitrarily recruiting new staff as well as ignoring procurement procedures.

“The GS (General Secretary) has used his office to his personal and selfish interests that pose a high risk to the resources, image, and integrity of the board and UCA in totality,” says a staff’s petition to the Board.

It is alleged he used the suspect board resolutions to acquire a loan from Housing Finance Bank.  “The said purported Board Resolution was recently used to acquire a loan of Shs200 million from Housing Finance Bank Ltd. Unfortunately, should any UCA member choose to query this transaction, the board will be 100% liable as per UCA by-laws,” the complaint reads.

He is accused of irregularly including his domestic worker as a staff of UCA and awarding him medical benefits.

In the 16-page petition to the UCA Board, the staff noted that they were deeply concerned about abuse of the organization’s finances.

“We would like the board to interest itself in how project funds are utilized in UCA because on several occasions, partners have expressed dissatisfaction over how funds are utilized in the organization,” the petition says.

The employees also want the Board to investigate the performance of a loan facility for UCA Naguru Apartments, alleging that the funds meant to repay the loan was not remitted as was instructed by the board.

The staff now want Asiimwe suspended – if not dismissed altogether -- to pave way for investigations.

“We recommend that for purposes of saving the image of the organization, entire cooperative movement and board, the GS should be suspended immediately to pave way for further investigation if the committee finds no justification for summary dismissal. We pray that this is done with the urgency it deserves to avoid further damage.”

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