Equity Bank Takes Over Wobulenzi Public Primary School Amidst Loan Scandal

Equity Bank Uganda Faces Public Outcry Over Mysterious Deposit Loss
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Erastus Kibirango, the LC V chairperson of Luwero district, has disclosed that Wobulenzi Public Primary School is facing the imminent risk of being sold due to the failure to service a loan fraught with irregularities. Equity Bank declared its intention to take over the public primary school’s assets two weeks ago, citing a significant debt owed by the institution.

The roots of the issue date back to 2019 when the then-headteacher, Richard Mukasa, secured a loan amounting to Shillings 100 million from Equity Bank by mortgaging the school’s title. The funds were earmarked for the purchase of a nearby house to accommodate teachers. Wobulenzi Public Primary School, operating under the Universal Primary Education system, boasts a student population of 2,300, making it the largest school in the district.

As the repayment period for the loan has lapsed, the school administration finds itself owing the bank Shillings 65 million along with additional penalties. Kibirango pointed out that a review of the loan documents revealed irregularities, as the Education office and Chief Administration Officer sanctioned the loan, a responsibility that falls under the purview of the Ministry of Education and Sports.

The LC V chairperson emphasized their commitment to finding solutions to service the loan rather than laying blame on all involved parties, citing the utilization of the funds for the benefit of the school. Kibirango attributed the delay in loan repayment to conflicts between the old and new school managements, led by the incumbent headteacher, Micheal Kintu, an issue the technical team failed to resolve.

In response to the crisis, Kibirango has summoned the technical team for a meeting on Thursday to explore strategies to service the loan and prevent the school from falling into the hands of the bank through sale.

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Expressing concern over the matter, Richard Bwabye, the Luwero District Resident District Commissioner, questioned how the district allowed the school to retain land titles and mortgage them twice without adhering to proper procedures. Bwabye proposed legal action against Equity Bank, alleging the illegal retention of titles for a government school, coupled with fraudulent extension of a loan facility without due process.

Despite repeated requests for comment, Luwero District Chief Administrative Officer Innocent Asaba and District Education Officer Florence Bbosa declined to provide statements on the matter. Available documents indicate that the school received Shillings 100 million as a loan in February 2019, with the bank recovering Shillings 43 million due to delayed utilization of the funds.

District officials and the current school headteacher have intensified pressure on former headteacher Richard Mukasa, holding him individually responsible for the loan irregularities and accusing him of obtaining and mismanaging it without following proper procedures. Mukasa, in an attempt to rectify the situation, has paid Shillings 32 million as an individual since the beginning of the year.

Barbara Among, the Communication Manager of Equity Bank, stated that the bank is legally exercising its right to sell the school property to recover depositors’ funds, citing the institution’s long-standing default on the loan. Notably, Wobulenzi Public Primary School was originally established by Indians before their expulsion by President Idi Amin.

Loan Timeline and Financial Overview

Year Event Amount (Shillings)
2019 Loan Acquisition by Richard Mukasa 100,000,000
2019 Recovery by Bank Due to Delayed Fund Utilization 43,000,000
2023 Current Loan Debt Owed by School 65,000,000
2023 Mukasa’s Individual Repayment Since the Beginning of the Year 32,000,000
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