By Mulengera Reporters
Recently Afande Edith Nakalema’s State House anti-corruption unit commenced investigations into the mismanagement of the Agaru SACCO in Agago district. Having cast the net wide, Nakalema exposed many leaders as being complicit in running down the SACCO. One of those who was negatively affected and actually humiliated was James Penywi an influential director at the Inspectorate of Government. He is Director Investigations in charge of government projects.
Nakalema’s Unit says the numerous complaints about the Shs30bn SACCO related to mismanagement and corruption. It operates in Agago, Pader and Kitgum Districts with a view of promoting financial deepening. The 190 members SACCO was sometime back closed under circumstances Nakalema considered dubious and as the Board Chairman, Penywi found himself having a lot to answer for including the Shs200m he caused to be advanced to himself without the same being recorded anywhere.
Members had over the years saved up to Shs1bn which they can’t access as was originally expected resulting into destitution and death of family members, children dropping out of school, marriages breaking up and society strife.
Available info indicates money have been borrowed by the Directors of the SACCO and there is no evidence of repayment including UGX 74million by Opio Ogal Moses, UGX 63million by Prof. Ogenga Latigo, UGX 200million by Onying James Penywi Board Chair allegedly deposited UGX 100 Million on 31st January 2012. The names of those who are going to help with the investigation are: James Onying [Chairman], Chris Otim [National Planning Authority/SACCO board member], John Mutema [staff], Santo Oketch [Manager], Okello Albino [staff], Laiki Duscmen [staff] and Atim Christine [staff].
Penywi also has issues relating to the SACCO vehicle that continues to be parked in the basement of the IPS Building which houses the IGG’s offices where he works. But his boss Irene Mulyagonja says there is no secrecy about this because Nakalema’s investigators have continued to have full access to the vehicle. Mulyagonja sarcastically told Mulengera News “do you think he [Penywi] is going to carry it on the head away to some other place?” Nakalema had wanted to have him arraigned before court and sent to Luzira but she has faced multiple hurdles including an employer who is accused of being reluctant to act and sanction Penywi.
Anticipating little cooperation from the IG, Nakalema resorted to DPP Mike Chibita who too has ironically not showed appetite to sanction prosecution of Penywi. The man who has worked at IG for such a long time has continued to survive being arraigned in court because each time Nakalema sends the file, DPP Chibita refuses sanctioning prosecution on grounds the evidence is too inadequate for such. Nakalema, sources close to her say, feels frustrated by this lack of cooperation by Chibita and the relationship between the two has lately been very cold.
She is also wondering why the IGG hasn’t found it necessary to either interdict or send Penywi out on forced leave to enable investigations go on smoothly. Despite being required to report to her every two days for his bond to be extended, Penywi has continued going about his duties at IG, something Nakalema finds to be very intriguing. She is understood to be pondering cancelling the bond in the hope that locking him up might make the IG bosses see the prudence in sending him on leave.
But in an interview with Mulengera News, Mulyagonja denied claims that the IG is shielding Penywi from facing the full wrath of the law. She said the practice is to force people out of office only if continued stay is proved to put them in a position to interfere with investigations into their impugned conduct. She demanded for evidence that allowing him to keep working in any way complicates investigations by Nakalema.
She said if that was the case, then many civil servants would be out of office by now given that the IG keeps getting complaints and calls to investigate them from time to time. She said they have no control on the DPP and his reluctancy to sanction prosecution can’t be blamed on the IG. She said it would be unfair for Penywi to be forced out of office yet other officials are never forced out of office merely because yet to be substantiated allegations have been made against them. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at email@example.com).