Akamwesi boss dismisses claims of receiving Covid-19 cash

Thursday April 22 2021
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Akamwesi hostel in Makerere Kikoni. Photo | Courtesy

By Amos Ngwomoya

Businessman Fred Kamunyu and proprietor of Akamwesi Hostels, has dismissed claims that he inappropriately received Covid-19 money and diverted it.

The money, which is channeled through Uganda Development Bank (UDB), is part of the Covid-19 stimulus funds that seek to support recovery of struggling businesses.

Mr Kamunyu’s claims come on the back of accusations by a section of Members of Parliament on the Finance Committee, who allege that whereas UDB advanced him Shs20b to invest in among others, agribusiness and processing, he had used the money to construct a mall.

Speaking to journalists in Kampala, Mr Kamunyu said the money, which he borrowed from UDB had been advanced to him specifically to build a shopping mall along Gayaza road and has never accessed any money to invest in agribusiness and processing.

“I applied for that loan even before Covid-19. All records are there. This money isn’t [Covid-19 related] that is why the interest rate is at 14 per cent compared to about 10 per cent,” he said, noting the Parliamentary Finance Committee was handling the issue with political undertones.

Mr Kamunyu also challenged the Committee to get facts from UDB before “giving false information’ to the public, claiming some people were using the committee to engage in political fights occasioned by the recently concluded General Elections in which he had supported candidates against some members on the Committee.

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Parliament last year approved more than Shs455b as a stimulus package to support manufacturers in the agribusiness, private schools and hospitals that had been negatively impacted by Covid-19.
The money was channeled through UDB for onward lending.

However, there have been claims that the money has been lent to undeserving business people many of whom are not using it for the intended purpose.

While appearing before the Committee last week, MPs led by chairperson Henry Musasizi, tasked Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja to explain why UDB was lending money to city businessmen instead of manufacturers.

“Some manufacturers who want to expand their agro-businesses have been denied loans. We want to know why the people who are not supposed to receive this money such as tycoons are receiving it,” said Mr Charles Ilukor the Kumi County MP.

angwomoya@ug.nationmedia.com

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