Portal Resident City Commissioner – RCC, Rodgers Mbabazi has unearthed more
than 20 ghost Emyooga groups. Mbabazi says that he made the discovery when he tried
to verify the lists of prospective beneficiaries in the city.
In April, Mbabazi stopped the issuance of certificates to all 36 Emyooga groups
in Fort Portal after the Commercial Officer, Michael Karwani failed to avail the
lists of the intended beneficiaries. While meeting Saccos leaders at
Kyebambe Girls’ Secondary School main hall, Mbabazi argued that he could not
allow the issuance of the certificates to the Emyooga applicants yet some of them from the same groups
did not even know each other. He tasked
Karwani to produce the lists of the beneficiaries before embarking on any other
About three weeks later, Karwani produced the lists but the
RCC insisted that the members of each group appear physically with their
national IDs to confirm their existence. Mbabazi has now told our
reporter in an exclusive interview, that over 20 SACCO Emyooga groups have already been
verified. He, however, says nobody showed up to confirm members for more than
20 other groups.
He says that this was shocking given the fact that the
commercial officer called the group leaders several times to mobilize their
members. Mbabazi says some of the ghost groups were found in the SACCOs of
salon operators, produce dealers and performing artists.
He also says that he was shocked to find some groups had
names of civil servants in Fort Portal and they had to delete them because they
are not among the intended beneficiaries. Mbabazi argued that with the members failing
to turn for physical verification, it means the groups were forged.
//Cue in: “So, we reached…
Cue out… are civil servants.”//
He says there is going to be a strict verification exercise of the remaining 16
Saccos, saying all ghost groups will be thrown out. Karwani says the group
members could have failed to surface because, as the commercial office, they
did not have funds to make radio announcements calling them for the
verification exercise. He, however, could not explain how hundreds of other
groups were able to turn up.
Emyooga is a presidential initiative on job and wealth creation that targets 18
clusters including restaurants owners, Boda-Boda riders, women entrepreneurs,
carpenters, salon operators, journalists, People with Disabilities, Fishermen,
Mechanics, performing artist and taxi operators. Each constituency was given
560 Million Shillings.
The estimated nationwide budget for the programme is 260 Billion Shillings. Of
this, Kampala and Wakiso districts were allocated Shillings 26 billion and 14
billion respectively. Some financial statements that our reporter has
seen show that about Shillings 30 million was deposited on each of the Sacco’s
account in Fort Portal city in November last year, but no Sacco have ever
accessed the funds.
Mbabazi says that after the verification exercise, they want the Saccos to come
up with business plans. He also adds that Saccos have to hold general meetings
where the commercial officer and his team can train them on how the initiative
works before they can access the money.