President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has ordered for the arrest of officials who defraud the public using his name. This was after he met with victims of fraud by city Pastors who duped hundreds of people of billions of shillings with false claims that they would benefit from foreign trips and government programmes.
A group of more than 10 victims in company of the State House Ant-Corruption Unit Head Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema called on the President on Friday at Morulinga State Lodge in Napak District Karamoja sub-region where the president is camped for his campaigns in the region.
According to Apostle Masaba Edward who led the group, between 2017 and August 2020, directors of more than 400 private schools and 30,000 people, among them Pentecostal pastors and believers from various parts of the country, were mobilized and duped into paying monies to benefit from different government initiatives to improve livelihoods by Pastor Siraje Ssemambo and Pastor Mondo Mugisha Flankline, aided by senior government officials.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni described the incident as unfortunate adding that fraud is a new problem that has been caused by too much freedom.
He promised to work with Members of Parliament to help and support the victims and directed the arrests of whoever was involved in this scum.
“These people were defrauded by those crooks. We shall arrest those crooks and prosecute them. Too much laxity was causing all this and the ignorance of the law by the public is a big problem. They were defrauded because they do not know the law, the 1966 Public Collections Act Cap. 293, says that people are not allowed to collect money from the public,” Museveni said.
The President also pledged to work with UDB to see how the schools can be supported to get out of these loans. He directed Afande Edith Nakalema to protect the victims and whistle-blowers from the conmen as investigations continue.
The President warned government officials against using his office to solicit and collect money from the public saying they have no mandate to do so whatsoever.
He said that government is going to use this incident to sensitize the public on the law that governs money collections.
“Its unfortunate but we shall use it to stop all this laxity. They have no power to collect money from public, the whole public should now know,” he said.
Museveni said that the only two categories of people allowed to collect money from the public are the Government through taxing and Churches through receiving contributions and offerings from Christians.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit Head Lt Col. Edith Nakalema said Pastor Siraji Ssemambo of Revival Church of Bombo the man at the center of over 10 billion fraud was arrested and charged with 16 counts of obtaining money by false pretense among others before Buganda Road Grade One magistrate Ketty Joan Acaa. He pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was remanded to Kitalya Government Prison until December 02, 2020”.
Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema said that Pastor Mondo Mugisha the co-accused was also arrested and is still under police detention as investigations continue. Government officials mentioned in the fraud have all been summoned to record statements as an investigation into the matter continues.
The State House Anti-Corruption Unit said the two pastors and a lawyer used President Museveni’s name, that of his wife Janet and brother Gen Salim Saleh to dupe the people into paying the monies and later threatened them when they demanded accountability.