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Masaka Elder's Sacco Over the Verge of Collapse as Wrangles Persist

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Swaibu Makumbi, one of the SACCO delegates from Masaka Municipality, says the micro finance institution is being rundown by a clique of people within the governing board, who are operating with a lot of impunity.
Margret Ntambaazi Nabaggala Elders SACCO Chairperson during a crisis board meeting recently (File Photo)

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The future of Masaka Elder’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Limited hangs in balance because of unresolved management disputes threatening its stability.  The SACCO, which started in 2006, is meant to attend to the emerging financial needs of elderly persons in greater Masaka sub region.

However, the Sacco is trapped in recurring challenges that are threatening its existence. Swaibu Makumbi, one of the SACCO delegates from Masaka Municipality, says the microfinance institution is being rundown by a clique of people within the governing board, who are operating with a lot of impunity. 

He particularly singles out Margret Nabaggala Ntambaazi, the board chairperson for turning the SACCO into a personal project, where she dictates policies hence abusing the rationale for its establishment.

He explains that the SACCO has also lost huge sums of money because of chronic financial mismanagement by the board. According to Makumbi, the latest special audit report that unearthed financial loss of Shillings 400 million has discouraged some members and withdraw their trust.

The financial audit was conducted by Felbright and Company Auditors covering the period between 2017 and July 2019. It found that the Sacco is embroiled in serious governance weaknesses that have created room for fraud and financial mismanagement. 

Rosemary Nantumbwe, one of the SACCO board members, says the board has deliberately failed to enforce the audit report recommendations that include recovery of all debts and suspension of persons implicated for fraud as a way of saving the institutions from collapsing.   

She says they are suspicious that the board chairperson could be a direct beneficiary of the financial scam, which threatens the SACCO. 

//Cue in: “bafulumya ssente……  

 

Cue out; ……akakiiko kaveeko.”//  

Andrew Katongole, another member of the SACCO is apparently afraid of continuing to associate with the institution because of the irregularities that hinder its effective operations.    

However, Margret Nabaggala Nantambazi, the SACCO board chairperson, says despite the underlying the challenges cited, the institution is still financially stable, adding that they are doing all it takes to realign its management to save it. She also denies any wrong arguing that she inherited some of the challenges from the previous board. 

//Cue in: “he explained…… 

 

Cue out; …..be streamlined.’’//     

Luganda  

   

//Cue in: “omulembe gwetwasikira…… 

 

Cue out; …….ffe tukyaliwo.”//

 

Several Saccos in Masaka have closed because of similar challenges. They include among others SHE SACCO, Masaka Muslim SACCO, Butonde Micro-Saving Institution, Gatsby Microfinance, Masaka United Taxi Drivers and Operators SACCO.

Joseph Mugerwa, the Masaka Municipal Commercial Officer, says that many SACCOs have collapsed largely to political interference, which affects their management.