MPs Question Police Bosses on Management of Exodus SACCO

The Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi has said that members of the Police’s Exodus Savings and Credit Cooperative (SACCO) are restricted from withdrawing their savings due to liquidity challenges.

Muhoozi was on Tuesday appearing before Parliament’s Defense and Internal Affairs Committee, alongside Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Katsigazi, the Exodus SACCO Board Chairman Dr. Wilson Omoding, and others.   

The Committee was recently directed by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa to investigate alleged fraudulent operations of the SACCO. This followed reports from police officers who complained about compulsory monthly savings, challenges in accessing their savings, lack of representation of lower cadres at the Annual General Meetings (AGM), and others.

The Exodus SACCO is a registered institutional cooperative society of the Uganda Police Force formed in 2007 by a resolution of the Police Council to enable its officers to come up with a pool of funds for purposes of accessing affordable loans to engage in productive activities.

Documents presented to the committee by the SACCO Board Chairman, Wilson Omoding indicate that the society boasts of 42,990 members who are personnel of the police, civilian staff, and employees of the SACCOs. The biggest number of members are Police Constables totaling 24, 695 (57.44 percent), followed by Senior Police Constables totaling 7,202 (16.75 percent).

As of December 2022, the SACCO had members’ savings totaling 29.93 billion Shillings, loans to members of 31.05 billion, total assets of 52.99 billion, the share capital of 9.19 billion, and a surplus of 3.71 billion.

Omoding told MPs that in 2020, the eighth Annual General Meeting of the SACCO resolved that each officer of a junior rank and senior rank make a minimum savings contribution of 30,000 and 50,000 Shillings, respectively per month in order to enhance the society’s capacity to provide affordable credit. 

He said that savings are made through deductions from the police payroll and in other instances, deposits are made directly through the SACCO bank account. 

“Members can withdraw part of their saved amounts from the SACCO to fulfill urgent needs and obligations. The amounts saved by the members can be used to meet loan requirements or as collateral when obtaining a loan. Members earn interest on their savings balance at the end of each financial year when a surplus has been declared,” said Omoding. 

Omoding further explained that the eighth Annual General Meeting of the SACCO in 2020 resolved that members should be allowed to access part of their savings twice a year and that this was informed by a previously unclear policy which allowed often access to savings without control or regulation.

“The resolution however left the power to the board to regulate when during the year the member would be invited to apply for a savings withdrawal. Also, in order to be consistent with the core objective of the cooperative of coming together to create a pool of funds to provide affordable credit, the board was given the power to regulate the percentage of savings a member would be allowed to access,” Omoding added.

He further explained to the committee that the move was to ensure that the SACCO maintains its capacity to meet the ever-increasing loan demand from its members.

Omoding says that generally, the SACCO does not encourage members to make savings withdrawals and instead encourages them to apply for affordable loans. He however said that upon exit of any member after retirement, death, or those expelled, all accounts held with the SACCO are closed and money meant for a member is credited to their ordinary savings account on which they can be claimed by the member or their beneficiary.

Gen. Muhoozi emphasized to the committee that the restriction of access to savings in the SACCO was informed by issues of liquidity and not any other ulterior motives.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Katsigazi also explained that membership to the Exodus SACCO is voluntary, contrary to complaints by a section of police officers that they are forced to join the cooperative.

Sauda Kauma, the Iganga Woman MP said it was unfair for the SACCO management to limit members from accessing their savings. 

“What is the nature of these Annual Meetings? Who are the delegate members? Also, the signatories on all the SACCO accounts are from senior positions…. what inform the designation of these members to become signatories?” Butiru County MP Wakooli Godrey questioned. 

Wakooli also demanded that the financial statements of SACCO for 2017, 2018, and 2019 are submitted to the committee for scrutiny.

Rosemary Nyakikongolo, the committee chairperson questioned how only 233 delegates that form the Annual General Meeting represent the 42,990 savers. 

“How do they consult with the members before resolutions are passed…do you give them time to consult or when you meet you just rush through the resolutions?” Nyakikongolo questioned.  

Dr. Omoding explained that every police station elects a delegate to form the Annual General Meeting of the SACCO. The supreme authority of the society is vested in the general meeting of members.

He said that the duties of the general meeting are the election of the board committee, receiving and consideration of the reports of the board, opinion of the supervisory Committee and external auditors, and giving directions through resolutions.

 The General meeting derives powers from regulation 20 of the Cooperative Societies Regulations and Article 16 of the Exodus SACCO by-laws.   

Nyakikongolo directed that a list of the delegates is submitted to the committee.

Abdallah Kiwanuka, the Mukoko North MP also told the police officials that the committee witnesses feel insecure since they fear disciplinary measures against them. He asked that the police authorities assure the committee that nothing will happen to the witnesses who want to present evidence about the operations of the SACCO.

Gen. Muhoozi assured the committee that no harm will happen to the witnesses and the committee chairperson indicated that these will be handled on camera.                               

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