Ministry of Agriculture officials in the spotlight over ‘Enzige’ funds

Government deployed soldiers as part of its response against the locusts

An investigation by an intelligence unit close to the presidency has pinned senior officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) of diverting close to Shs 8 billion to personal use.

According to a report, a copy of which The Witness has accessed, accuses senior technical and political leaders (identities withheld) at the Ministry of using the money to make personal investments in real estate businesses and financial institutions in one of the regional neighbours.

“He has been swindling money from the government through programs under the Ministry and by this, he has acquired a lot of properties and started businesses using the money he has swindled,” the report says of one senior official at the Ministry.

The said official reportedly invested in real estate both here and Kenya where he is also alleged to have started a microfinance institution to which he transfers some of the money he swindles from the Ministry.

Attached to the report are photographs of some of the housing estates among other investments the officials have put up in some of Kampala’s upscale neighbourhoods plus four heavy-duty sino trucks the official bought recently.

WHISTLEBLOWER

The dealings were leaked to the intelligence services by a junior staff at the Ministry who the officials were using to transport the money.

“They were using him to drive the money to different locations but I think they excluded him in the sharing of the loot. That might have angered him and exposed them,” a source said.

It is said that the junior staff took the investigators to the various properties his bosses have acquired over the past few months in addition to giving them the name and contacts of a female employee of one of the banks who handled most of the transactions.  

The money is reportedly part of the Shs 22 billion that the government allocated towards the desert locusts control plan in February last year after the destructive pests invaded parts of eastern and northern Uganda.

Two months later, the minister, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, announced that the Ministry needed an additional Shs 16.18 billion to procure chemicals for spraying the migratory insects following the arrival of a youthful swarm of locusts.

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