RUKUNGIRI- The Office of the President is investigating the activities of an anti-poverty group in Rukungiri District, Boona Bagaigahare Nyekundire Group Limited, over alleged fraud.
The group leader, Ms Peace Rugambwa, is said to have met the President and claimed to have spent about Shs1.9b of her own money to mobilise residents to fight poverty, which she wants him to refund.
However, according to the State House Comptroller, Ms Lucy Nakyobe, they want to establish whether Ms Rugambwa spent all the money on mobilisation.
“She said she gave out onion seedlings and mattresses to the elderly, and during the woman MP bye-election, she also mobilised the people to vote the NRM candidate and that she is in debts that are almost making her to lose her property,” Ms Nakyobe said last Thursday in Rukungiri.
She added: “I am here to verify whether she really gave out those things and at that cost so that the President can determine whether he can refund her all the monies.”
Ms Nakyobe also carried a book bearing the names of the beneficiaries, which she said Ms Rugambwa presented to the President.
“This book here you see contains names of people that Rugambwa claims she gave onion seedlings and mattresses. I am here to verify these names. I called her to attend this meeting but she refused and said all leaders in Rukungiri hate her,” she added.
According to group members, each one paid Shs12,000 as subscription fee so as to qualify to benefit from the different items given such as mattresses, seeds and loans.
However, Rwerere Town Council chairperson Catherine Tumusiime said some members paid the subscription fee but did not receive the items.
Mr Geoffrey Tindarwesire, a member, demanded that Ms Rugambwa be forced to refund their money.
Ms Precious Mwesigwa, the chairperson NRM Western Division, blamed Ms Rugambwa for not involving other leaders in the project and that they tried to restrain residents from paying the membership fee but they never took the advice.
The treasurer of Boona Bagaigahare Nyekundire Group, Mr Micheal Byarugaba, who attended the meeting convened by Ms Nakyobe, said they supplied items to some people and they are yet to give other members.
“We gave out several items but we have not yet given to all the people that paid or those that registered with us,” Mr Byaruhanga said.
What group leader says
Ms Rugambwa claimed district leaders, including the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Martin Mugabi, are against her activities because what she is doing discredits them for not doing much to help the grassroots people.
“I did not attend the [Thursday] meeting because Ms Nakyobe hears more from the group fighting me,” she said yesterday.
She said the Shs12,000 they charge is membership fee to help in running activities of the organisation.
According to Ms Rugambwa, the group’s core mandate is fighting household poverty through promoting farming and lending money to the members.