Bugisu Cooperative Union hit by accountability issues, members run to trade minister for help

Kenneth Kazibwe

Kenneth Kazibwe

, Business

A group of farmers who are members of Bugisu Cooperative Union(BCU) have petitioned the Minister for Trade through the commissioner in charge of cooperative development over the union’s audited books.

The group led by Paul Mugoya, the chairman BCU elders’ forum representing over 200 members on Monday presented the petition to the commissioner in which they detailed a number of issues they want solved.

“As you know, the trading year for BCU Limited for 2017 ended on 31December 2017 and its audited accounts for the year should have been presented to the members by March 31 but this has not been done,” reads in part the petition.

“As of this day, three months later, there is no sign that the Annual General Meeting will be held yet the AGM is the statutory meeting meant to give members accountability of the union’s financial operations and status as at the close of the financial year.”

The group says the board has not given an explanation to members on the delay in calling for the Annual General Meeting, a thing that has caused worry among them.

Speaking to Nile Post, Mugoya said they have been kept in the darkness by the board led by Budadiri County West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi.

“Members don’t know whether the union is progressing or stalling because the audited books of accounts have never been presented to us,”Mugoya said.

The group cited section 22 of the Cooperative Societies Act, regulations 18 and 20 of the Cooperative Societies Regulations and Bugisu Cooperative Union bylaws that state that when a registered society fails to cause its accounts to be audited, the committee of that society shall be deemed to have relinquished its office.

“Accordingly, we request you to convene a special general meeting of the union so that we elect a new board since the current one is deemed to have left office, ” the group says in their petition.

The group also noted that if government is to revive cooperative societies in the country, it should at all times ensure that laws are followed and not impunity prevailing.

“If you have not declared books of accounts, you relinquish power because that is the law,”Mugoya said.

Established in 1954,Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) is one of Uganda’s few surviving cooperative societies owned by coffee farmers who are organised in primary societies each with fully paid-up members, who elect a committee that manages the society’s affairs.

Each primary society is represented by two delegates at an annual general meeting where the audited books of accounts are presented.

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