Trade Ministry’s Principal Cooperatives Officer Kavundira Remanded Over UGX 3.4 Billion Scam

Trade Ministry’s Principal Cooperatives Officer Kavundira Remanded Over UGX 3.4 Billion Scam

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By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The State House Anti-Corruption Unit, in collaboration with the police’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), has arraigned the Principal Cooperatives Officer in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Leonard Kavundira, before the Anti-Corruption Court on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Kavundira is accused of conspiring with previously remanded co-conspirators to divert over UGX 3.4 billion, intended for war loss compensation by the government to Buyaka Growers Cooperative Society, for their personal use and was consequently remanded until July 9, 2024.

Kavundira now joins the list of other accused individuals in the case, including Mawanda Michael Maranga, the Igara East Member of Parliament; Wamakuyu Ignatius Mudimi of Elgon County in Bulambuli District; Akamba Paul of Busiki County in Namutumba District; and lawyer Kirya Julius of Kirya Company Advocates, while other suspects remain at large. All suspects are scheduled to return to court on July 9, 2024.

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The cooperatives scandal came to light following a directive from Speaker Anita Among on August 25, 2023, instructing the Sectoral Committee on Tourism, Trade, and Industry to investigate the status, governance, resourcing, and value for money of public funds allocated to cooperatives during the Financial Year 2022/23.

The Committee’s report on Bumwambu Growers Cooperative Society Ltd and Buyaka Growers Cooperative Society Ltd revealed a pattern of mismanagement and alleged fraudulent activities involving significant sums of money, including unauthorized transactions, unaccounted funds, and dubious legal representations, raising serious questions about the integrity and governance within these cooperative societies.

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