After a long discussion, the former minister apologised to the women leaders and accepted to surrender the mills to the district
The head of the State House Anti-corruption Unit on Tuesday quizzed the former state minister for microfinance, Caroline Okao Amali, in connection with the ongoing investigations about President Yoweri Museveni's donation to the women of Amolatar district.
New Vision has learnt that Museveni was concerned that the five grinding mills he donated to the Amolatar women in 2010 have never benefitted the targeted group.
It is alleged that Akao, also former Woman MP, personalised the mills and formed a private company to manage them, causing discontent among the district women leaders, who said they were left out of the management.
As a result, according to Lt Col Edith Nakalema, the mills that were supposed to generate revenue for the women ‘were rotting way' 10 years since the President donated them.
They equipment was procured by the Office of the President and installed by the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) engineering brigade at Amolatar town council but have since been registered in the names of Amolatar Women In-Informal Groups Organising and Enterprising (AWIGO), a privately registered company.
The company has 14 members with Akao as the company patron. The women leaders have since complained of being sidelined.
While meeting Akao at her office on Tuesday, Nakalema accused the former minister of diverting the donation and at the same time trying to tarnish the President's image.
Nakalema said the President directed her unit to investigate the matter. The donation was meant for women in the five sub-counties and each was supposed to receive and manage one mill but they could not be installed in the respective areas because there was no a three-phase power connection.
Participants at the meeting included Can. Richard Ogwang, the former area resident district commissioner, Patrick Otile, the district community development officer and three women leaders from Amolatar (Grace Akango, Grace Laker and Modesta Imede).
Ogwang alleged that Akao blocked the district leadership from direct management and nominated 14 women through churches to manage the mills, under her direct supervision.
After a long discussion, the former minister apologised to the women leaders and accepted to surrender the mills and their management to the district.
Nakalema directed her to submit a report, including minutes of AWIGO board meeting on October 13 and immediately start on the process of de-registering the mills from the private company.
She also asked her to prepare to make a formal handover of the mills, including surrendering agreements of the lease offer of the land where the mills were installed, which was paid for by the Office of the President.
Nakalema also asked the UPDF engineering brigade to dispatch a team Amolatar to establish the status of the mills before she approves transfer of the mills back to the rightful beneficiaries.
"You must keep off the grinding mills. Let the women who were given these machines own them," Nakalema stated.
According to Ogwang, the mills were first stored at his office but Akao directed that equipment be transferred to her home for safety.
They were later transferred to the town council but the former MP, according to Ogwang continued to ‘personalise' them.
"I am ready to hand over the mills because I have no interest or ill-motive, I decided to take over the management because there was no proper leadership of the women councils to take over," Akao told the meeting.