Police in Nakaseke have arrested seven Community Development Officers for soliciting bribes from members of the public before registering them for Emyooga presidential initiative on job and wealth creation.
According to Isa Ssemwogerere, the Savannah police spokesperson, the CDOs for Ngoma Sub County, Ngoma town council, Wakyato, Kinoni, Kinyogoga, Nakaseke, Kito, Kikamulo were arrested after complaints from the victims.
“The CDOs were allegedly asking each person to pay shs50,000 to be registered for Emyooga. We arrested seven of them whereas the hunt for another one who is on the run is ongoing,” Ssemwogerere told the Nile Post.
This website has separately learnt that during a function attended by the State Minister for Microfinance, Haruna Kasolo the victims reported the CDOs.
The police spokesperson noted that investigations have started before the suspects are taken to court.
“As per now, we have charged them with extortion but later, they will have more charges of abuse of office,”Ssemwogerere said.
The Emyooga initiative targets Ugandans especially in the informal sector who come together in form of saccos under 19 clusters including Boda boda riders, taxi drivers, restaurants, welders, market vendors, women entrepreneurs, youth leaders, people with disabilities, journalists, performing artists, veterans, fishermen, private teachers and elected leaders.
Each of the saccos will receive shs30 million as seed capital, save for the private teachers and leaders that will each receive shs60 million and 50 million respectively.
The program is part of the broader NRM principle of socio-economic transformation in which the government has committed 68% of the country’s homesteads, currently in the subsistence of market-oriented production.
The State Minister for Finance in charge of Microfinance, Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo recently revealed that registration for the program is free of charge and warned Community Development Officers and Commercial Officers against soliciting money in form of registration charges from the public.
He also warned that greedy sacco members face jail.
“Whoever borrows the money we have injected in the saccos must return it. Whoever fails will be arrested. Don’t misuse the money but use it for its intended goal,”Kasolo said at the launch of the ‘Emyooga’, presidential initiative on job and wealth creation at Kira Municipality headquarters.
The minister explained that whereas all other government initiatives aimed at alleviating poverty have not yielded much, this time round, government is going to be strict to ensure Emyooga succeeds.
“The office of the president will monitor the program and the RDC will be in charge. You will see vehicles burn fuel worth shs200,000 to come and arrest someone who has embezzled shs10,000. That is how serious this is going to be.”
The minister said after the failure by previous programs to yield much results, President Museveni introduced Emyooga to help fight poverty among Ugandans through saving and later borrow at a lower interest rate.