The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has directed the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, to investigate the alleged fraudulent operations of the Uganda Police Savings and Credit Co-operative Organisation (SACCO), Exodus.
Tayebwa and fellow legislators gave accounts of responses from Police officers, complaining about compulsory monthly savings, disparities in savings and challenges in access to their savings.
“Officers send me messages; one of them sent me a message that we do not have a general assembly but a general parade – that it is like a parade and you cannot question anything. They fear to talk,” Tayebwa said.
His directive followed a statement by the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, on Wednesday, 01 February 2023, whose attempt to defend the Sacco was rejected by MPs.
Padyere County MP, Hon. Isaac Otimgiw, talked of how a Police officer in Nebbi District approached him shedding tears over the operations of their Sacco.
“I was approached by a Police man who told me that on top of compulsory deduction on pension, they have a compulsory deduction on Sacco savings. Commission wardens are not allowed to withdraw money and according to him, only top officers are actually benefiting,” Otimgiw said.
Hon. Sarah Opendi (NRM, Tororo District Woman MP), shared her past experience with Exodus while she was employed with the Inspectorate of Government.
“We conducted investigations and discovered that it was compulsory for every Police officer to join the saving scheme. It was almost impossible for junior officers to access this money until retirement and yet the top officers were actually getting this money at lower interest at the expense of junior officers,” said Opendi.
Busia Municipality MP, Hon. Geofrey Macho, insisted that there was no voluntary recruitment of members into the Sacco and that new cadres were ‘lured’ into joining as they joined the force.
“When Police constables were opening accounts after their qualification into the force, the condition was that you must join the Sacco,” Macho said, adding that “at the annual general meeting, they do not invite those with lower ranks”.
His assertion that the Sacco deducts monthly savings of 50 per cent of members’ salaries was contested by Muhoozi, although he acknowledged that lower cadres were charged higher than senior cadres.
“The minimum monthly savings deduction is Shs30,000 for junior and Shs50,000 for senior officers respectively. The percentage of contribution of savings in relation to salary is higher in lower ranks compared to higher ranks. This is a matter the next annual general meeting could consider,” said Muhoozi.