Seven local leaders in Pakwach District find themselves in legal trouble. They have been arrested on the orders of Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Paul Eseru due to allegations of defaulting and mismanaging Emyooga Sacco funds. The arrested individuals include the Chairman of the Local Leaders Sacco and several Association Chairpersons. These leaders represent the Jonam Constituency local leaders Emyooga Sacco.
The controversy surrounding these arrests stems from actions taken in 2021 when the Sacco leadership withdrew 20 million Ugandan shillings from their account, which initially held a total of 50 million shillings. According to RDC Paul Eseru, the funds were not appropriately disbursed to the Sacco’s members, causing setbacks in the Emyooga programs and adversely affecting the recovery of loans from the beneficiaries.
Out of the 20 million disbursed in 2021, only 5,292,500 shillings have been recovered, while a significant 14,707,500 shillings have been defaulted. Despite several attempts to arrange meetings with these local leaders, they consistently avoided attending meetings convened by the Office of the Resident District Commissioner.
The Sacco leadership further failed to submit their financial records for audit purposes and did not hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM). This failure to meet compliance requirements prevented the permanent registration of the Sacco. Consequently, RDC Paul Eseru, who also serves as the Chairperson of Emyooga in the District, ordered the arrest of the seven leaders.
The arrested individuals and the amounts they are alleged to have demanded or defaulted on are as follows:
|Name||Amount Alleged to Have Demanded/Defaulted (UGX)|
|Angeyo Santy Rose||870,000|
|Obote Avuni Michael||650,000|
RDC Paul Eseru explained that he had repeatedly urged these leaders to attend meetings but received no response. This lack of cooperation led him to take the step of ordering their arrest. He further appealed to all Emyooga defaulters in Pakwach district to clear their outstanding balances to zero, emphasizing that leniency towards such matters has come to an end. He noted that mismanagement of government projects, such as Emyooga, has had negative consequences for other livelihood projects in the area, including the Youth Livelihood Project (YLP), UWEP, NUSAF, Enable Youth, and more.
RDC Eseru issued a stern warning that anyone found mismanaging government projects in Pakwach would be apprehended. Unfortunately, the Pakwach district Commercial Officer was unavailable for comment on the matter at the time of this report.