AMOLATAR- The head of the State House Anti-corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, has assured the women of Amolatar district that she is going to return to them President Yoweri Museveni's donation, which was intended to improve their general welfare.
In 2010, the president donated five maize mills to the women of Amolatar, bought them land and constructed them premises to house the mills as one of the strategies to generate revenue for the poor women and improve their general welfare.
But the mills have remained a white elephant and have become nonfunctional for the last ten years.
It is alleged that Caroline Amali Akao, former District Woman Member of Parliament and former state minister for finance 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.
The 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 by Okao in the names of Amolatar Women In-Informal Groups Organising and Enterprising (AWIGO), a privately registered company.
In a statement she read to the press on Thursday evening, Nakalema said that the President was shocked to learn that the mills have never benefited the intended beneficiaries and instructed her office to investigate and expedite the process of returning the mills to the women.
She said during her investigations, she discovered that the mills were taken over by a private company fronted Okao.
As a result, she said, the women were denied access to the mills and they have never been operationalised.
The sub counties that were supposed to benefit from this donation included Amolatar Town Council, Awelo, Namasale, Muntu and Aputi.
"The President has instructed that the mills be handed back to the women in the shortest time possible and Okao has promised to withdraw AWIGOE's interests," Nakalema said, adding that the former MP was still under investigations over the matter.
She said a team from the UPDF engineering brigade had been dispatched at the site to quickly revamp the mills and the buildings and make them ready.
She said the President would be present when the mills are handed over to the women.
The press briefing held at the Unit's boardroom was attended by y the former RDC Amolatar, canon Richard Ogwang and the current, Lillian Eyal, LC5 chairman, Simon Peter Ongwom, and district women leaders including Molly Amera, Judith Acan and Milly Cong.
Okao however, did not attend the meeting and Nakalema told journalists that she had informed her that she was sick and had been hospitalised in Kampala.
In an earlier meeting on Monday, October 19, Okao attended with her lawyer, Charles Darlington Opwonya, but things turned against her when she informed the meeting that she was a ‘mere' patron to AWIGOE.
Nakalema however, interjected and informed the meeting that the former minister was a liar.
She said she had obtained documents from the registrar of companies indicating that Okao had personally registered the mills in the names of AWIGOE where she was a director with two other women.
One of the said directors, Hadija Baka who was invited by Okao to defend her, however, told the meeting that she had never been informed that she was a director and said she did not know anything about the operations of the company.
Baka shed tears in the meeting on learning that her name had been used in the sham. Another director, Dorothy Ojuka did not attend the meeting because she was sick.
Nakalema assured the women that they will not be prosecuted over the matter, saying the scandal had been orchestrated by Okao and would be answerable.
Nakalema told journalists that she was not happy that Okako was trying to twist the matter and turn it political, saying it had nothing to do with politics.
She also assured the women that the mills would be delivered soon and before the elections and dismissed talk in the district that the move was intended to excite the women to vote for President Museveni and later abandon the project.