A whistleblower’s report has surfaced, alleging a conflict of interest involving a non-governmental organization (NGO) associated with Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo, the junior Microfinance minister of Uganda.
The NGO in question, Kasolo Foundation Limited, is suspected of being involved in the disbursement of billions of shillings advanced to savings and credit cooperative organizations (Saccos) in Kyotera County, Rakai District.
The funds were provided by the government’s Microfinance Support Centre (MSC).
The report suggests that Kasolo may have used his position as a former lawmaker for Kyotera (2016-2021) to influence the government lending agency to preferentially benefit his constituents.
However, a parliamentary committee is currently investigating the allegations and has not yet found evidence of wrongdoing by the minister.
The MSC, established to provide affordable micro-credit services to financially marginalized groups, has Kasolo representing the Ministry of Finance on its board.
The whistleblower’s report raises concerns about lapses in due diligence during credit appraisal processes and alleged preferential lending to organizations like Kasolo Foundation.
The 2019/2020 annual report of the MSC listed Kasolo Foundation as one of its partners, but it remains unclear whether Kasolo declared his conflict of interest to the board before his Foundation became involved in the multi-billion shilling transactions.
Kasolo denied any misuse of the funds and claimed that the money was lent to individual groups in Kyotera, not to Kasolo Foundation itself.
However, the audit report on MSC’s accounts for the year ending June 30, 2022, highlighted poor loan portfolio performance and lapses in loan monitoring.
The parliamentary committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities, and State Enterprises (Cosase) is investigating the matter, but a recent letter from the Speaker of Parliament suggested that Cosase may not have the jurisdiction to scrutinize MSC, leading to disagreements between the committee and the Speaker.
The case adds to long-standing institutional challenges at MSC, including conflicts of interest and impropriety in the past.
The committee’s inquiries aim to shed light on the situation and ensure transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.