Members of Parliament in Masaka City were shocked to learn that some of the Saccos that received Emyooga funds were not registered. This was during their engagement with officials from the micro-finance support center, Masaka city technical staff, and local leaders on Tuesday.
The legislators led by the Leader of the Opposition Mathias Mpuuga quizzed officials on the entire disbursement of the funds from the time of forming Saccos, to the time of disbursement of money from the government and giving out loans to the individual members of the associations.
Mr Mpuuga was escorted by Dr Abed Bwanika (MP Kimaanya-Kabonera), Juliet Kakande (Woman MP Masaka City), Masaka City Mayor Florence Namayanja, and Mayor Nyedno-Mukungwe division Mulindwa Nnakumusana.
According to Mr Mpuuga, in their interaction with the officials, they have since learnt that the funds were given to ghost Saccos on orders of State Minister for Microfinance, Mr Harunah Kyeyune Kasolo, and the funds were paid out on the eve of Election Day.
“The Microfinance support center zonal manager made it clear to us and read a letter from the State Minister for Micro Finance directing banks to open accounts for non-existing Saccos,” he said.
Mr Mpuuga noted that the whole program was botched up in terms of concept noting that the conceptual framework was wrong and the documents that formed the task force chaired by Resident District Commissioners who can hardly reach out to communities to take up commercial programmers was wrong.
He reasoned that the Emyooga initiative had a lot of partisan inclination to the extent that the whole idea lost sense.
“We have established that in the due course nonexistent Saccos were given money after some people opened accounts without proper formation documents. We are going to make recommendations to parliament and people involved in this fraud will be investigated,” Mr Mpuuga said.
Dr Abed Bwanika said he has fully investigated the entire program in his constituency and noted that out of eight Saccos that received the money, only four have used money and the other four Saccos’ money is still idle on the accounts.
“We thought that the initiative will be inclusive and accommodate all people involved in the same profession or occupation but we have since established that some organizations manned Saccos and are benefiting alone,” Ms Kakande noted.
However, Mr Wilfred Katobe, the manager of Microfinance Masaka zonal office noted that Saccos received money before formally registering but they later formalized and obtained pre-requisites before accessing the money.
“Its true funds were disbursed before the formalisation of Saccos, but later they formalized and those ones that haven’t formalized yet are the ones whose money is still lying idle on the accounts,” he said.
Masaka city has 24 Emyooga Saccos, which are composed of 650 associations 15 of them are in Nyendo-Mukungwe, and eight are in Kimanya-Kabonera.
Masaka city received Shs1.2 billion and Kimanay-Kabonera got Shs560M while Nyend-Mukungwe got Shs560M as well which prompted legislators to question how the two constituencies can receive an equal amount of money when Kimanay-Kabonera has a few Saccos.