By Ambrose Kweronda
in Rubanda district—-
The Hamuhambo Town Council Town Clerk, Ali Kirarira, the Community Development Officer Bridget Musimenta, and the Town Agent Bright ASIIMWE were arrested yesterday on charges of corruption and misappropriation of funds from the Government’s Parish Development Model (PDM) Fund.
This incident unraveled when whistleblowers from the Kibuzigye – Hamuhambo PDM Sacco Limited raised concerns about their names being unjustly removed from the PDM beneficiary list and replaced with individuals who had no connection to their parish or their Sacco, all under the authority of high-ranking officials.
It is suspected that the detained Town Clerk, CDO, and Town Agent deliberately erased the names of legitimate beneficiaries from the list, substituting them with 11 fictitious names having no affiliation with the Sacco members or the parish.
In response to a persistent wave of complaints regarding fund misallocation, bribery, and corrupt practices tied to PDM fund distribution in Kibuzigye – Hamuhambo PDM Sacco Limited, located in Hamuhambo Town Council, Rubanda District, the District Deputy RDC, Eric Ssewandigi, convened an emergency meeting at the Hamuhambo Town Council Headquarters in Kyarujjumba ward. The primary grievance raised by dissatisfied Sacco members was the unauthorized removal of their names from the beneficiary list, replaced with non-Sacco members.
Agnes Tusingwire and Judith Kyarisima, both SACCO members, reported the removal of their names from the priority beneficiary list, replaced by individuals unrelated to their SACCO. When they sought answers from the Community Development Officer’s office, they were told that non-Sacco members who received the funds were expected to return them within a month.
John Twesigomwe, the SACCO chairperson for Kibuzigye – Hamuhambo PDM Sacco Limited, stated that they adhered to all required procedures, including submitting the beneficiary list to the bank for fund disbursement.
However, during the disbursement, non-Sacco members received funds meant for registered SACCO members. Furthermore, some beneficiaries only received 500,000 UGX instead of the applied one million.
Eric Ssewandigi, the Deputy RDC for Rubanda District, revealed that investigations have unveiled the presence of multiple ghost beneficiaries in the initial disbursement phase, who lacked any connection to the SACCO or the parish. He clarified that the arrests were made based on the officers’ admission to adding ghost names to the beneficiary list.
Ssewandigi warned residents of Rubanda District involved in the misappropriation of government Parish Development Model funds to rectify their actions before they face legal repercussions.
When launching the PDM fund disbursement in Rubanda district four months ago, the Minister of State for Finance in charge of General Duties, Henry Musasizi, emphasized that PDM is the NRM Government’s strategy for this term to integrate subsistence households into the money economy, disclosing that they have allocated Ugx 1.059.4 trillion to 10,594 PDM SACCOS this fiscal year as revolving funds.