Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inspector General of Government Irene Mulyagonja has declined to investigate Bugisu Cooperative Union-BCU.
In February 2019 the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga asked the IGG to investigate allegations of corruption against the leadership of BCU.
Kadaga’s request came after some members of BCU petitioned parliament in December 2018 accusing Budadiri West legislator Nathan Nandala Mafabi and other leaders in the union for allegedly embezzling 1.129 billion shillings that was compensated to the union by the government in 2015.
In 2010, government suspended the BCU board on allegations that it had falsified the books of accounts. A committee was instituted to investigate the allegations between 2003 and 2010 but failed to release a report.
In 2013, Ministry of Trade ordered for another forensic audit to look at accounts from 1996 to 2010. The report exonerated Nandala of causing financial loss to the union and he was in 2014 voted back. Consequently, BCU demanded a 9. Billion Shillings compensation for the losses incurred when government suspended the chairman and management from 2010 to 2014.
In 2015, government made the compensation but some members of BCU accused the leadership of BCU for failure to account for it.
In a letter dated 1st April 2019 and addressed to the speaker of parliament, the IGG noted that the issues raised by the petitioners are not new and largely political in nature.
“They have been raised before various stakeholders at all levels including His Excellency the president of the Republic of Uganda, The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister and Cabinet” reads part of the letter.
The IGG says that while the issues raised can fall under the mandate of the inspectorate, the inspectorate has satisfied itself that the petitioners can receive redress through courts of law as provided for in the Cooperative Societies Act.
According to Section 73(15) of the Act, any debt arising out of embezzlement, loss of cash or misappropriation of cooperative society’s funds shall be referred by an arbitrator to a competent court for settlement.
“The allegations raised in the petition are largely focused on misappropriation and mismanagement of the society’s funds and would, therefore, fall under section 73 (15) and court of law is clothed with the jurisdiction to handle such complaints.” Reads part of the letter.
The IGG also noted that related issues of mismanagement of resources of BCU between 1996 to 2010 are under investigation by police under Crimes Investigations Division case number CID HQTRTS GEP 30/2015.
“In view of the above, the Inspectorate of Government will not handle the petition in accordance with Section 19 (2) of the Inspectorate of Government” the letter reads further
Nandala has in the past denied any wrongdoing and instead accused the petitioners of frustrating work at BCU.