‘We were meant to go to Afghanistan three months after the training, but we have since waited in vain yet the company directors kept silent about the progress’
PIC: Matojo exchanging with the youth who accuse him of conniving with a job recruitment company to con them. (Credit: Davis Buyondo)
LYANTONDE- Over 300 job seekers on Thursday stormed the office of Lyantonde Resident District Commissioner demanding a refund of over sh750m they lost in fake job recruitment by Six Star International Ltd.
Activities were paralysed the whole day as the agitated youth threatened to wreak havoc if the resident district commissioner (RDC) Suleiman Tiguragara Matojo failed to expedite the refund process.
It is said that in November 2017, the district security committee chaired by Matojo made a deal with Six Star International Ltd to register and recruit the said people for the purported security guard opportunities in Afghanistan.
However, the registration and recruitment exercise went on for three weeks at the RDC’s office after several radio and TV announcements.
According to Robert Musinguzi, who led the protesting group, the applicants, including 30 women and over 270 men, came from Lyantonde, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kasese, Isingiro and other districts.
He said each of them paid sh2.5m meant to cover medication, training, air ticket and other services as per the recruitment terms.
Musinguzi explained that they went through a one-month rigorous training including close-range shooting at Kigo prison.
“We were meant to go to Afghanistan three months after the training, but we have since waited in vain yet the company directors kept silent about the progress,” he recounted.
Ruth Namata, another group leader, said they were forced to demand their money and passports after losing hope in the delayed or failed trip.
She explained that they had to sell land and cows while others acquired bank loans in order to raise the required amount.
“We have information that the RDC reportedly took a commission of
sh100,000 off every registration. They are making money as we keep on suffering,” he said.
Nelson Nsimiire Babwetera, one of the affected applicants, complained that family members who contributed money accuse him of obtaining money by false pretence.
“I have always heard people complaining about recruitment companies having fake job opportunities in which they con people. At least let them refund it. We can still find something else to do in Uganda,” he argued.
Jimmy Kombo from Kasese said the RDC and the company directors have not been forthcoming on the matter which propelled their anger.
Kombo further said they have also become a threat to their communities because they are idle. He said they are now treated as soldiers and not civilians due to the training they underwent.
As a result, he argued, without deployment or getting jobs, the idle youth may be lured into committing crimes or joining rebel groups in Kasese.
The youthappealed to the labour and security ministers to intervene in the matter before it runs out of hand.
RDC Matojo’s pleas to the rowdy group to calm down were futile as they insulted him, accusing him of conniving with the recruitment agency to fraudulently take their money.
This prompted him to run to Lyantonde Police Station for safety. But the group still followed him there paralysing activities for close to one hour.
However, the Lyantonde District Police Commander, Robert Tashobya, quelled the situation. A prompt security committee sat to resolve the matter. It involved five representatives from the protesting group.
Tashobya advised the RDC and the aggrieved parties to petition the Permanent Secretary (PS) ministry of gender for redress.
Speaking to the New Vision, Matojo accepted endorsing Six Star International hoping they will fulfill their promise.
He explained that it is the company’s failure to fulfill their promise that sparked off the protests.
He said the company directors Eva Birungi and Zed Byakyalo, have declined to refund the money despite several appeals.
However, our two-day efforts to get a comment from Birungi and Byakyalo were futile because none could pick.