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Ms Kaliisa said the officials’ arrest followed several complaints raised by PDM beneficiaries from the district that their leaders were demanding between Shs 70,000 and Shs150,000 as an inducement
Five officials in Kyegegwa District spent a night in police custody on allegations of extorting money from beneficiaries of Parish Development Model (PDM).
The suspects include the district principal commercial officer James Kamara, Mpara parish chief Rachel Komuhendo, the town clerk Mpara town council Monica Kabasinguzi, Bugido PDM Sacco chairman Evans Nimusingyiza and Mpara town councilor Fred Begumya.
The officials were arrested on Thursday evening during a meeting at Kyegegwa Resident District Commissioner’s office on orders of Ms Jovrine Kaliisa Kyomukama, the PDM deputy national coordinator.
The Rwenzori West Police spokesperson, Mr Vicent Twesige, said the suspects were detained on charges of forgery and extortion.
“Ms Kaliisa who came to Kyegegwa district yesterday had a list of people who were suspected of extorting money from the public and forging receipts in the name of PDM. The suspects were called and interviewed. They confessed committing the offence with evidence of receipts and she ordered their arrest,” Mr Twesige said.
Ms Kaliisa said the officials’ arrest followed several complaints raised by PDM beneficiaries from the district that their leaders were demanding between Shs 70,000 and Shs150,000 as an inducement for them to benefit from the government programme meant to uplift 17.5 million Ugandans in 3.5 million households out of subsistence economy to the money economy.
“Some of the groups paid Shs150, 000 but we found that Shs 87, 300 was on a receipt which is not right and that is why we came from Kampala to rectify this issue. This programme is meant to alleviate people from poverty,” she said.
Mr Nimusingyiza said he started asking money from PDM beneficiary group after he was directed by the district principal commercial officer.
“After being elected as the Sacco chairman, I became stuck with nothing to do. During one of our training the district commercial officer told us that we shall not get PDM funds when we don’t have an office. We had no money because we were not saving. We sat with our parish chief and agreed to start getting money from groups,” he said.
Mr Kamara however, said they only advised PDM group members to start saving in their Sacco to raise money.
But Ms Kaliisa said the programme targets beneficiaries who have no money to save and it is not in their guidelines.
The Kyegegwa Resident District Commissioner, Ms Monica Karungi, tasked the parish chief to start sensitizing PDM beneficiaries on the guidelines of the programme to avoid extortion.
Kyegegwa District has 81 parishes which are meant to benefit from the programme.