Three districts fail to recover Shs4 billion Emyooga cash

Members of Emyooga and PDM Saccos attend a meeting in Aboke Town Council, Kole District, on November 3. Kole North MP Samuel Opio Acuti says Emyooga has many loopholes in the area. PHOTO/BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

Leaders say they are facing difficulties in recovering the money because the programme initiation was a bit political.

About Shs4 billion for Emyooga programme is still in the hands of people in Amolatar, Kole, Oyam and Otuke districts, Daily Monitor has learnt.

This newspaper established that Emyooga Saccos in Amolatar received a total of Shs1.44b. But as of November 1, the district had only recovered Shs172m from 1,500 people. Mr Geoffrey Ocen, the district chairperson, confirmed Shs1.274b was still unrecovered.

 Mr Ocen indicated that his administration was facing difficulties in recovering the money because Emyooga initiation was a bit political.

 “If you try to follow, they tell you ‘this is a presidential initiative. If you are disturbing us, you are the one now trying to spoil the president’s votes,” Mr Ocen told a team from the Directorate of Socio-Economic Monitoring and Research in the Office of the President recently.

“In future, if such initiatives are coming, too much political pronouncement would help bring people but the technical part of it should be followed seriously to ensure that there is compliance,” he suggested. 

 The situation in Otuke District is the same. The administrative unit got Shs1.336b under the programme but as of October 31, only Shs120m had been recovered.  The District Status Report shows that each of the seven Saccos received seed capital worth Shs30 million but zero shilling had been recovered from them.  Mr Francis Abola, the district chairperson, said they were still convincing their loan clients to refund the money.

Dr Samuel Opio Acuti, the Kole North MP, said the problems which affect the implementation of Emyooga cuts across the entire Lango Sub-region.

He said Shs131 million unaccounted funds “moved out of 15 Emyooga Sacco accounts in his constituency consistently without detection”. 

“Kole North Leaders Sacco received Shs46 million but the amount withdrawn from their bank account is Shs56 million. Unaccounted for is Shs10 million. Kole Mechanics received Shs17 million, amount withdrawn Shs30 million, and amount unaccounted for – stolen Shs13 million,” the legislator said.  The MP said he raised that issue with the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) at that time. “The next thing we knew he had been transferred. That issue was never resolved. It was left hanging because the RDC is the chairperson of the Emyooga District Taskforce! How could Shs 131 million moved out of 15 different Sacco accounts consistently without detection?” But Kole District chairman Moses Andrew Awany said Dr Opio’s allegations are unfounded.

“Some of the politicians here had enrolled their campaign managers to manage PDM, when gaps were identified and they were eliminated, the whole livelihood programmes now turned to be something, which was not desirable,” he said. 

Mr Esau Ekachelan, the district chief administrative officer, also disagreed that there is massive fraud in government’s livelihood programmes in Kole.

Ms Fatuma Namukwaya, the deputy head of Anti-Corruption Unit at the Internal Security Organisation, said she directed their detectives to start investigation into Emyooga and Parish Development Model (PDM) in Lango.

Emyooga was launched in August 2019 as part of the broad government strategy targeting to transform 68 percent of homesteads from subsistence to market-oriented production with the overall objective of promoting job creation and improving household incomes.