WEST NILE: Ministers from the West Nile region have ordered an audit into the Arua City Parish Development Model (PDM) funds over alleged irregularities.
They accuse the city officials, among others, of irregularly forming PDM groups and disbursing money to unregistered SACCOs, which is contrary to the guidelines of the program.
On Monday, the ministers, led by Grace Kwiyucwiny, the State Minister for Northern Uganda, issued the directive during a sensitization meeting for Arua city and Arua district officials about the program.
Trouble started after Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Mayor of Arua City, expressed disappointment over the criteria used by the city officials to select the 54 SACCOs that are meant to benefit from the program.
According to Wadri, there is a high possibility that the officials handpicked some existing SACCOs, which is contrary to the PDM guidelines.
It emerged that, out of the 54 approved SACCOs, Arua city officials had disbursed 17 million schillings to 33 SACCOs despite the fact that only 18 of the recipient SACCOs were dully registered with the registrar of cooperatives, a key requirement for the implementation of the program.
When tasked to explain how the city was able to open bank accounts for the unregistered SACCOs, Emmanuel Angudubo, the Ayivu Division Town Clerk, said that the groups were issued registration certificates by division authorities to open accounts. This, however, angered the ministers, who argued that the city officials acted contrary to the stipulated guidelines.
Evelyn Anite, the State Minister of Finance in charge of Privatization and Investment, says the audit will mainly cover three major areas, which, among others, include the irregular formation of PDM Saccos in the city.
Dr. Joyce Moriku, the State Minister for Education, says they will not allow Arua city authorities to mess up the program, which aims to lift poor households out of poverty.
In the 2021/2022 financial year, Arua city received 564 million shillings for the implementation of the PDM, out of which 561 million shillings have already been disbursed to 33 beneficiary groups.
The Parish Development model is being implemented under seven pillars, which include, among others, production, storage, processing, and marketing; social services; infrastructure; and economic services. It also has aspects of financial inclusion as part of the pillars. It is supposed to be a parish revolving fund whose beneficiaries will get low-cost loans for investment in income generation.