Uganda News

Sh11 billion for teachers vanishes, 9 arrested

Detectives discovered that 42 of the 215 SACCOs falsified teacher signatures and presented identities of people who had never worked as teachers, while other savings and credit schemes registered members after receiving the funds.

In connection with the misappropriation of Sh11 billion earmarked for teachers, nine persons have been arrested. The money came from a Sh25 billion revolving fund established by the Ministry of Finance to boost the wellbeing of teachers in government institutions.

To be eligible for the loans, one had to be on the government payroll and not have taken out any other loans.

After receiving multiple complaints from teachers who were being compelled to pay for loans they never obtained through their Saving and Credit Cooperation –SACCOs, the Criminal Investigations Directorate –CID launched an investigation.

Detectives discovered that 42 of the 215 SACCOs falsified teacher signatures and presented identities of people who had never worked as teachers, while other savings and credit schemes registered members after receiving the funds.

Garuka Michael, Kyampa Joseph, Isabirye James, Mpade David, Kwagala Olivia, Mawada Robert, Kayepa Bashir, Magala Enock, Bampalana Patrick, and Samson Nanzizi, according to CID spokesperson Charles Twine.

In the areas of Iganga and Mayuge, one of the suspects currently on the run set up multiple bogus SACCOs.

He began referring to himself as the Chief Executive Officer –CEO, and he forced teachers to withdraw funds and hand them over to him. The suspect, whose identity is still unknown, used the funds to fund his wife’s campaign for Member of Parliament, but she lost.

Following President Museveni’s direction, the money was released by the ministry of finance in 2015.

The problems began when the Ministry of Education sought bidders to manage the money of instructors, and Microfinance Support Centre –MSC was chosen as the best.

MSC was granted 9.3 billion Shillings to distribute to teachers Saccos, according to detectives. The money was instead allegedly loaned out to financial organizations such as Finance Trust Bank, which was supposedly granted a 6 billion Shilling loan, and HOFOKAM microfinance, which was allegedly given a 3 billion Shilling loan, under dubious conditions.

Following reports that MSC was misusing the funds, the Uganda National Teachers’ Union –UNATU – staged rallies demanding that the funds be given to them to manage. Museveni then directed the Ministry of Finance to provide UNATU the remaining amount of over 15 billion shillings.

Nonetheless, because UNATU is at the level of an association, it will not be able to disburse the funds to Saccos. An agreement was made to establish a Walimu Teacher’s Union account that could rely on District Chief Administrative Officers-CAOs to verify that applicants were truly on the government payroll and had never had any outstanding loans.

The CAO’s job was to make sure that a Sacco was applying for the loan, that its members were on the government payroll, and that no one was paying back a loan that had already been obtained. The CAOs were also responsible for ensuring that the Saccos have addresses. The CAOs, on the other hand, went ahead and cleared Saccos that never existed.

Presenting a certificate of maximum liability issued by commissioner cooperatives was another necessity. This was supposed to display the savings, inventories, and audited books of account of the Saccos. Furthermore, Saccos were supposed to electronically send funds to successful loan borrowers.

Detectives have recently discovered that Sacco managers personally withdrew the money rather than delivering it to successful applicants electronically as instructed. The managers then obtained the bank details of Sacco members who were teachers and submitted them to Walimu Sacco as individuals who had successfully obtained loans.

According to investigators, Walimu Sacco approached Uganda Bankers’ Associated in an attempt to retrieve the funds, and coded many accounts of unsuspecting teachers. Teachers’ wages began to be sent directly to Walimu Sacco accounts, although they never received any loans.

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