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Ghosts haunt Emyooga funds.

Hon. Mathias Mpuga-leader of opposition meeting Mr.Wilfred Katobe MSC Uganda zonal member in Masaka city who early this week revealed that the Emyooga funds were given to non-existent SAACOs.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among recently directed MPs to go back to their constituents to monitor the implementation of Emyooga funds. The findings of MPs concerning beneficiaries of the fund that is administered through members of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) indicate cases of ghost beneficiaries. Uganda is no stranger to losing millions of monies to ghost beneficiaries over the years such as ghost soldiers, ghost teachers, and pupils, ghost pensioners, ghost voters, and now ghost Emyooga beneficiaries. 

SecretsKnown has learnt that some district commercial officers across the country created fake SACCOs and groups with the intention of embezzling emyooga funds. Legislators from Wakiso district led by Hon. Betty Naluyima while auditing the Emyooga funds experienced a scenario where a commercial officer from the district failed to provide a valid contact list of beneficiaries.

This confirms the news report by New Vision paper dated Monday, August 16, 2021, that the MPs were not aware that commercial officers were creating fake SACCOs and leaving out genuine beneficiaries. Since then MPs have warned and cautioned commercial officers on the practice of embezzling emyooga funds.

In Kyotera, greater Masaka sub-region MPs criticized the process through which Ugx 1.9billion ($537,963) emyooga funds were distributed. They confirmed various anomalies while investigating the 35 SACCOS that received the funds. MPs led by Hon. John Paul Mpalanyi of Kyotera county pointed out that SACCOs in Kyotera were not duly registered as required by the law. He revealed that SACCOs had certificates but the focal person of Emyooga scheme had no copies to confirm that they were registered.

The MPs pointed out that wrong people formed associations and registered them to tap into the funds. The investigative excursion by the MPs further revealed that most of the associations do not have uniform venture and with no operational office yet these were conditions set by Microfinance Support Centre for the Emyooga. 

In Teso sub-region, Bukedea district locals shared their displeasures with the Woman MP who doubles as the deputy speaker of Parliament over cases of officials soliciting money from beneficiary groups and SACCOs which was more than the required amount. The deputy speaker Anita Among threatened and cautioned that no culprit would survive arrest and prosecution for their actions. In Soroti city, leaders attributed the poor performance of Emyooga funded projects to the imposed lockdown.

SecretsKnown noted that borrowers were to make first repayments by the first quarter of this year and only less than Ugx 10million ($2,831) has been recovered from the Ugx 1.1billion ($311,452.24 ) disbursed to 36 groups in Soroti East and West divisions. Emyooga beneficiaries put the blame on lockdown that led to the closure of business and hindered their movements as government was trying to curb the second wave. 

In Soroti district, leaders also blamed the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the Emyooga programme to the untimely delivery of the funds. The Emyooga programme was rolled out during electoral campaigns when candidates were canvassing for votes and few thought it was a kickback. Secrets known shares the same school of thought with leaders in Soroti that the programme was just a political strategy to neutralize opposition parties’ and candidate’s popularity as well as canvass votes through capturing the ardent supporters for change of governance particularly youth and women who were volatile due to unemployment and poverty.

Secrets known notes that unchecked corruption is what has failed all the well-intentioned government programs and the Emyooga fund is not exceptional to the effects of the vice. SecretsKnown applauds the decision by Parliament to monitor and audit the implementation of Emyooga funds as a good practice that fosters transparency and accountability in the utilization of public resources. Ugandans need to know how the Ugx 260 billion ($73,615,984) Emyooga fund has been utilized and achieved its purpose.

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